Saturday, 31 May 2008

If it's not one thing, it's another

John had a bad fall when out shopping up north with Hannah and Emily on Friday. X-rays to the ankle revealed no broken bones, but there is severe tissue/cartilage damage and he cannot walk without crutches, (although he tells me that Hannah and Em spend more time on the crutches than he does!!) He must rest if there is any chance of him attempting the marathon drive back down south from Whitley Bay. I tentatively offered to go up this morning to bring the children back, but wisely he pointed out I have never done the trip with him in the car, so going it alone would be very tough. If the kids have to come home by train and leave John there to get some more rest, so be it. But I want him home, and better. Poor thing, cannot stand to be idle and on top of that he is in pain. He needs lots of TLC.
On a brighter note, his father is due to be discharged from hospital today. That will cheer everyone up.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Worrying news

John's father had a mild stroke the day after we got back from Whitley Bay. He is doing well and has lost none of his mobility. John and Adam left at lunch time yesterday for the 6 hour drive to see him. Reports are that he is cheerful and well, still in hospital and likely to be there for a few days. Nancy is, as ever, positive and cheerful, but she needs to look after herself. The girls are fine, loving life up there and Em was disappointed to think that her holiday is nearly over!

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Ever growing family

It feels as though we have family all over. John, Adam, the girls and I are a unit. Then the girls have their dad and grandparents in Japan, the latter who are still to me, 'mum and dad'. There are my parents in Australia, then John's and my siblings and their offspring. I relished this thought this weekend when the girls spent hours with their cousins in Whitley Bay, mainly the younger one, on the trampoline, as well as fooling around with their uncle and their older cousin's boyfriend. There were no barriers, just everyone in together, laughing and talking. Who can beat it?

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Early start

It is just after 5 am and soon we will head north to Whitley Bay for the long weekend. It takes about 5-6 hours driving, and we have made the trip a number of times since coming to the UK. It is John's home town. My job is to make the picnic that we eat en route. Sandwiches, fruit, hot tea and always some interesting snacks. Today, I am making popcorn!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Homestay with an English family

Laura, who is from Holland, has been with us for a few days now and she is a lovely tempered, quiet girl, with a good sense of humour. So far we have fed her Indian, Indonesian, Italian and Japanese food, but managed to make a good old apple crumble once! We have also taken her rock climbing at Stone Farm (see recent entry about fab local site) and to the vet!
Last night's outing was a trip to the vet to get Bosley seen to again. The girls piled into the surgery with the vet and myself and watched as Bos had a wound cleaned, his temperature taken, some injections given and lots of attention. It was an expensive trip out, but the girls all got a key ring each to take home! We were laughing about her 'English' family speaking Japanese and her outing to treat a sick cat. It may not be what she expected, but it seems as though she is fitting right in.

Saturday, 17 May 2008


Last week I got a rare chance to get back to Standen for a couple of hours of work. If you remember last year I wrote about the swimming pool and emptying it of newts? Well this time we were digging a retainer pond below the pool to be able to keep a continuous supply of water pumping between the two. It was very hot, sunny weather, but we were under the shade of a big tree. It was also dirty work, the mud is really clay, which became more slippery as the day went on. No matter how hard, heavy or grubby the work is, I always feel truly happy there. There is no telling when the next afternoon off will coincide with Standen, but I can't wait to get back.

Friday, 16 May 2008

International Colours

This week we host a young girl from Holland, who is here on an art exchange program with Hannah's school. She will be with us for about 7 days 6 nights and in that time will see a lot of galleries in London (all arranged by the school) as well as spend time learning about English landscape painting as well as doing her own work. Hannah will then go to Holland in September. I am excited to think that someone new will join us for a short time. I hope she finds it all she expects.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008


The old garden fence was on its last legs, in fact it was almost on the ground, so we have had a new one erected. Gone are the holes that the local cats slipped through. Poor Bosley spent some time gazing at where there used to be a space this morning. He then walked in an un cat-like wobbly way along the top of the fence, marking out his border. Not a bird, squirrel or cat respects his space, poor thing!

Friday, 9 May 2008

Fabulous local site

My colleague at work suggested we go for a walk at 'the rocks' as she was sure that we would like it. We did. It is set in wonderful woodland and once you are through that, there is a fantastic view of Weir Wood Reservoir. Bluebells are in full bloom under the trees, climbers were using the rocks and not far from the base of them is an angling pond.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Ticking life's boxes

One of the things I have always wanted to do is rowing. I loved the idea of a four in a skull on the river in the early hours of the morning. Alas, the uni I went to had no river and no rowing club. But there a lots of both in England! Recently I had a rowing lesson at the Ardingly Resevoir and can now tick that box. It was the first in a series of four introductory lessons to see if rowing suits me and me it...the jury is still out on that. It was far more difficult than imagined. Hard to balance, hard to turn the blades etc but I did manage a few strokes and turned around and got back to the pontoon safely. Next week we use legs as well as arms.....

Friday, 2 May 2008

Potato crop news

The one and only row of potatoes I planted in March (well, it was very warm and dry then) looked as though it had rotted away to nothing with the recent snow and rain, but NO! Last night I noticed a small potato plant peering out. Such a thrill. I plan to put in another row or two this weekend. Will post photos later.