Saturday, 22 December 2012

Winter Solstice

I love it. It marks the end of long dark days and the very slow beginning of more light. We are a long way from having more warmth, but cold and bright are fine by me.

Big J and I took Juno for a walk last night. There was a hazy moon and the occasional fuzzy star.

This morning it is pouring, but we have been out in the garden. Juno scratches the door to be let out now. She is on my lap growling quietly as a plane flies out from Gatwick (about 10 miles away.) I suspect the plane is less interesting than her own little growls and half hearted woofs. It seems like a practice session really. It now seems to have kicked off hiccups!

Today is about cooking, last minute shopping, gift wrapping and cleaning. EVERYTHING needs a good going over.

Big J has suggested a morning meeting to plan the day....hope he is feeling energetic.

Enjoy your run up to the holiday.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

It has been a while

Just not up to blogging at present. Too many things going on in my head and heart. What really helped this morning was taking Juno for her little walk. Around the close, across the road (she sits before she crosses the road but has NO idea why she is sitting!!) and across the green. That is usually enough. She gets jumpy and wants a carry....just like a toddler. But she has to walk, and on the home stretch, she gets excited and perks up no end.

In that very short space of time, it was nice to see berries on the winter trees, to speak to a neighbour I have never met and her little boy, to hear all the birds, it has been so long since I have been out in the morning and actually heard bird song. In those moments it struck me that taking time out is so very important and just being outside is wonderful.

Juno is now in the cat's basket, (he has a back up basket under the radiator in the dining room which is toasty and away from the antics of the dog and which he seems to prefer) chewing on a plastic spool. Her other favourite at the minute is a whole walnut. Small things!

Hope you all enjoy your day.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Selling my self

Don't you just hate trotting out all the old cliches when describing ones own work talents?  How dull, dull, dull, for the prospective selectors. I have been working at the application on-line today.  The section for talking about what I do now is taken verbotum from my current job description with one or two additions. Apparently, unless the format is used, one scores badly in the selection process. I am now onto the bit WHY do I want the job? It is hardly an all singing all dancing career move, but it is a very interesting job, to me at least. Do I come across as burning with passion and fire for it, or just point out why it appeals and why I think having me in the hot seat might not be such a bad thing? Tough call. This is only being advertised internally so that means that the interviewers will already know the interviewees - you'd think they would all like to forgo this hooha. Still...

It is so bitterly cold today that resume writing seemed almost like a nice way to spend some time. Does not help that Juno is killing her floppy dog that smells terrible on/at my feet with great relish and noise!

She had her last injection today. What a star. The clinic was packed and we had old wiry men and ladies with giant German Shepherds all cooing and clucking and aaahing. Even the vet gave her a little squeeze! She was on her lead and very keen to get to know one and all. But the trip home was a bit much excitement and I am afraid the rug in the back of the car got pooed on - just a tiny bit!!

Here she is this morning having attacked my gym bag and heaven knows where the stamps came from.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Social life spins out of control!

It feels like it. Or maybe just life is spinning out of control!

For the birthday bake I made a dozen lemon and poppy seed muffins, a dozen carrot and ginger muffins and some chocolate beetroot brownies. Note the theme....yep... 5 a day. With all the mince pies and other stodgy rubbish some of us will be filling our faces with in the weeks to come, I thought we could do with more veg!!

Then is was all hands to the crochet hook and trimmings to finish up the decorations in time for Book Club on Friday night.

As mentioned before, the pattern came from lovely MATT and the yarn is Planet Penny's Cotton Club. The embelishments are my own and I was very pleased with them as I am not a naturally gifted embelisher.....

They were stiffened with glue and everyone got one to hang on their tree or where they see fit...
Tis the first time I think I have really made anything to give away like that.

Book club was a challenge. We all came dressed in the clothes of a country of our choice, with food and drink from that place. It was such a riot. We had French, Chillean, Greek, Scottish, Egyptian, Spanish, Japanese, Italian, Chinese and Russian party goers.  I got to wear my yukata (summer kimono) and took along some yakitori (chicken on a stick!!), some sake and some plum wine. There was so much yummy food it ended up being a rather decorous affair - for Book Club.

We have done some Christmas shopping, the tree is up and thrilling things like home insurance has been renewed at a saving on last year's.

This is a big week for me. I am applying for a new job in the same department. It is making me feel very nervous. I think I would like it and even be good at it, but the whole CV thing gets me tied in knots. I just hope I get an interview.

And finally. In the new year, I will be going back to Oz to see my dear old dad and mum. I think I need to see them soon.


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

White Birthday

It is my birthday and it is snowing and I love it. Snow is beautiful - to me. I love walking in it. Out come the purple Hunters and the thick socks, the fluffy hat, gloves and my warmest coat. Today I have to bake lots of goodies for the people at work - the birthday girl has to provide. I will take them in tomorrow. I have also finished my little snowflakes and am really pleased with later as the camera battery is charging now. I plan to make more....
Juno starts puppy training tonight and we are all going to be there so that we can be consistant in her teaching and Big J is coming home from Wales. How lovely.


Sunday, 2 December 2012

Making Christmas crochet pressies

Thanks to Matt at his great blog and the lovely yarn from planetpenny, this evening I am making coloured snowflakes as tiny gifts for our Book Club annual Christmas bash.....

I have done five so far, one in white but the yarn splits a lot and does not have that smooth twist of the PP cotton club version. The plan is to embelish them a little with beads once they are stiff. I will post a pic of the finished versions before the end of the week. Maybe!

So nice to be back in the crochet zone.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

and the frost lay all around

this morning it really is deep and crisp and even. The sun is not up yet, but Juno and I have been out on the grass twice. She is a funny thing. Despite being an outdoor dog at birth, she has taken well to a heated bed (hot water bottle with fluffy cover) and the living room carpet is her favourite place to roll around. This morning her bedding and hot water bottle cover went into the wash and new bedding was used. Well! She was not a happy girl. She 'dug' over the bed, completely rolled it and would not accept any of the covers on the bottle. They were all undone and discarded. In the end I found an old t-shirt to wrap it in that obviously smells just right as she is snuggled up having a snooze.

She is a lovely addition to the family. Despite the trail of wicker she has chewed off Bosley's bed, the blackened carrots she loves to bite, bits of loo roll centre, sticky tape, the mouse toy and her fluffy dog she leaves in her wake....

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A day off

always means a lot. I have not been feeling great for the last couple of weeks and am looking forward to some solitude.

Having said that, solitude and being busy can go hand in hand. There are ebay parcels to send out, a puppy to go to the vet. (Fingers crossed we do not have a repeat performance of the last visit, what a horror!), a waitress uniform to be sorted out for Han who starts work this weekend and then there are the chores and planning for that ominous lurking cloud that is Christmas.

I plan to get my modest gifts for my incredibly fortunate immediate family (they have SO MUCH) on line, with cashback. Mother in law will be here at New Year and I will take her shopping. This is a far more challenging activity than it sounds. Nancy WILL NOT try anything on. We end up tussling over garments. I tend to win, but the fight is fantastic fun, so is she.

Christmas cards for loved ones overseas have to be sent off soon. My family is so far away and we do not do gifts. Only cards.

At work everyone gives everyone else a card. Last year I did not reciprocate beyond the confines of my team. I see them daily. We work hard, have lots of laughs, the occasional tear, and the even more rare moan (LOL).

So lots to do on my day the peace and quiet of an empty house.


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Giving up for now

After 9 attempts, from scratch, I give up. Time spent on Ravelry revealed some other ideas that are less ambitious. Ho hum. Time to rest my lovely new needles - for now. Chill time and a very big fat book by Ken Follet to start on for Book Club. 

Monday, 26 November 2012

No Knitter

It was frogged last night and again tonight. Seven times now. Not sure why, but once more I cast on and will have a go. If it is just not going to work there is always good old RAVELRY to fall back on. And in the frustrating times, the last wonderful rows of Han's blanket.....


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Home again, home again

I left home for Harrogate a crochet fanatic and have come back with one ball of wool and a pair of knitting needles!!!! At this point (no pun intended) crochet is my first love, but it was imperative that I crochet a scarf in the stitch that CB taught me. It is not going well. The last thing I knitted was when I was expecting Hannah. She will be 18 in January......but having unpicked it no less than 6 times, I cannot go back on the plan.

Anyway, we spent two days in away. Harrogate is a genteel town. Very pretty and home of Betty's where we had breakfast on Friday morning. (Luckily I had done a big rowing workout before hand....)

I enjoyed the show more for the exhibitions and displays than the shopping. There was a slight feeling of having seen it all before when it came to the items for sale.

But here are some of my favs.

Bones and juju dolls for the Queen from Alice in Wonderland

An adorable rhino with beaded ears and chin

and a lovely little mouse from Beatrix Potters The Tailor of Gloucestor.....

There was a distinct lack of crochet, it was odd. But it was lovely to be away. To be in a comfy bed, to walk around and look at the town and yesterday morning I took a long icy walk around the park in front of our hotel just to have some me time and to relish the sunshine, the frost, the happy dogs and rugged up runners.

I am home now, to a tiny bit of chaos, but it is home. It is lovely to have a day off - to get some things done.

Hope you are all enjoying your Sunday.


Thursday, 22 November 2012


Off to Harrogate today to see the show with CB. It is a real treat. Two days away, but I do not want to leave puppy.  The kids are pulling out their hair over her and Big J is away until late tonight.

What is the chance that the minute I am off the scene - they all get along swimmingly.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

New mothers

It is always more scary with baby number one. Will I be ok? Will THEY be ok? Will I be a good mum? Will I know what they want? It takes a while for mum and baby to bond, to find their stride so to of the WORST things is the 'baby expert' who tells you all about how to do it the 'right' way (their way). Old wives tales, horrific methods of control, discipline and rules. (Sounds like how I was raised ---LOL)!

Let me tell you folks, it is the same with puppies. We brought our bundle home thrilled to have her and in the last 10 days I have been beside myself on more than one occasion. She is very young and bouncy and jumpy and mouthy. She is also happy to nip and sometimes growl. I have had people tell me all about their methods, their great dogs, as well as dogs they knew who were not up to scratch because they were not looked after or raised properly.

And there is more and it is even worse. Those who come to the house, pick her up and shake her and poke at her and get her so excited that she wants to bite. Then to be told when I try to calm her down and give her a breathing space in the kithen that she is still a baby and only playing.

All I want for this little dog is for her to have a good, happy life with a family who loves her. I asked a local expert for advice and came off the phone feeling worse. She said she was 'probably one of those puppy farm dogs' and that I should have gone to see the mother. Well we did, twice, and we saw granny and siblings and other dogs in family. She then told me that if she was reared for ratting then she might not make a good family pet. WATCH THIS SPACE!

She is very jumpy and needy, but she is almost toilet trained, can go to bed when asked....comes to her name and is perfectly happy to be interrupted while eating - she never growls then. And she is still only a baby and she needs lots of love.

So as a new puppy mum I am feeling bewildered while wanting to get it right. But I have to say this, nothing is nicer than a happy puppy face greeting me first thing in the morning.
Here she is in Bosley's bed this morning, with Bosley's mouse.......

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Other blogs

are sometimes the best thing to read if you are feeling a bit low!

Love the blogs I follow. They inspire, they make me think and they very often make me laugh.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

DofE Crochet

Em and her friend are doing crochet for the skills component of the DofE Bronze Award....they are here now in the conservatory practising chain stitch. Both are lefties so they are struggling with which way to hold the hook. All of this work has to be documented, photographed and the end result presented for assessment. Sounds like more biscuits are being eaten than crochet done...but boy is it nice to be on call to answer questions.......and help.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

So over it?

Shoot me for saying this, but our little four legged friend is SUCH a handful. She is willful, funny, very cuddly, naughty, inquisitive, active and really sweet. But nothing gets done. She has taken over the kitchen. It is strewn with toys - including such exciting ones as an empty kitchen roll holder! She is so fiesty and we are very aware that the biting has to stop. Tonight I really thought (after four nights being 'around' all the time) that maybe this was not such a brilliant idea....She was wriggling and biting and snarling and just being horrid in her own little puppy way. We are all clued up on the training and sometimes she responds and sometimes she doesn't......she is not even 8 weeks old, so she is doing fine! But it is a bit like the terrible twos. All noise and palava for very little reason.......
The loo training is going well though. She gets the potty thing most of the time and loves going out onto the patio to sniff around.
Tomorrow we see the vet and she will have her first needles. It is a chance to book her onto training classes and get some info.
I love her to bits, but it takes me back to baby days when baby needed something NOW and then got all whiney when they were tired and wanted a cuddle before going to bed.
She is on my lap now, where she loves to be at the end of a good tussle.
I am ready for bed too! x
I miss my crochet time at night....

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Lest we forget

Big J and I went to the Rememberance Day ceremony this morning - our 7th in England. I love it that people take the time to remember. In Japan, the war is a dark history and kids are not taught about it in school. Whatever one thinks about the country and its past, it strikes me as incredibly sad that there is no day to remember those who died. In fact the remembering of the war dead is in some quarters, considered shameful and provocative, but it remains a truth that people everywhere lost loved ones.

Friends popped in the afternoon, not to see us really, to see the puppy, and she put on a good show....

At one point I actually started unpicking the edge of a knitted bag which has become frayed, that belongs to a friend. The idea is to crochet a new edge and a strap. About 5 stitches got done. It is just full on here.

For the first time in a while we were all home to eat together. This I love.


Saturday, 10 November 2012

Peckish pooch

Here she is - momentarily distracted by a bowl of warm puppy food. Boy have we been on our toes today. She loved Hannah's old slippers SO much that H donated one to the Juno toy box. It has been thrashed around, growled at, chewed and slept on.

Bosley did NOT like the intrusion, but very grandly held his ground, snarled and spat and now little miss is less enthused about running at him. I am sure this is just the first of many skirmishes, but she seems to recognise that the mewling noise he makes is not friendly.

For such a little thing she make a huge amount of noise. A cross between a loud porcine squeal with some grunts thrown in and high pitched howl. This happens when she is put in the cage for her nap, the first time it was so bad I rushed to the internet to get some pup of ours before has ever sounded so terrible. Fortunately as she went back in after her various play sessions - she tires easily, she is only 7 weeks old - the length of squealing time shortened. She is now on her hot water bottle, fast asleep and soon John and I will be leaving her in the capable hands of the girls while we go off partying.....

She has made it to the puppy toilet once so far, and got loads of praise for that so she is doing well.

Sleepless - and GIVEAWAY DAY

Up in the dark this morning because sleep was impossible. Not sure why, and no, it is not because we are going to collect JUNO a bit later on.

It is giveaway day and there is only one comment - so the skein of wool goes to the lovely J at crunchnrustle.  In the post on Monday J. xxx

Tonight we party at a friend's 50th and will leave the girls to puppy sit. Much preparation has been done, the cage is set up in the kitchen, old towels have been found, some chewy toys and for now, one fluffy one to snuggle up to. She has two new bowls as well as a blanket to cover her with.

I had plans to use my MAC make-over voucher (Christmas pressie last year and soon to expire) before the party today, to get lovely, but have decided to postpone the appointment so that I can spend time with the newest family member and help her settle in and to be honest - just enjoy the cuddles and playtime. Babies before beauty!

Pics to follow, not of the beauty - just the baby....... x


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Touching base

Life seems a bit mad at present so Wednesday mornings are such a treat. The boys are erecting our new shed in the garden today. It is icy cold, but sunny. The old shed came down earlier this week and has opened out a great space in the garden. I love it. No plans for what to plant yet - Big J and I have to do our walking around and talking about it thing! Maybe veg? Maybe plants?

I have caught up with the news from other bloggers and so enjoy doing it. Especially when they add in links for what inspires them or where they have been. It does mean a lot longer in front of the computer though.....

I am trying really hard to be careful with our food and the use of it to avoid waste and to save money. I had to do a run to Aldi this morning for eggs and milk, but that is not bad. There is enough meat/veg and other staples to get us into next week so when I top-up shop this weekend, we won't need so much.

I am an avid fan of Moneysavingexpert and have been for years, long before we moved to England. I read the emails weekly and have had some brilliant advice. Big J and I are overpaying our mortgage as fast as we can - and I am saving hard.  The kids laugh at me and occasionally think I am 'weird' but when things go well on ebay and my cashback sites payout, they are pretty impressed. They are now well used to the fact that most of my clothes and shoes are from the OP-SHOP!! I so want to instill in them the habit of reflecting before they reach for their wallets. Do I NEED it? Will I USE it? and CAN I AFFORD IT? I also tell them to save at least 10% of everything they earn or are lucky enough to receive as gifts. 20% would be better - they still get to spend 80%!

Even little Juno will be a frugal puppy! Her first puppy training pads were left overs from a local litter - I got tons of them for £10.00. This afternoon I am going to collect her cage, again used by a local pup who at six months has graduated from it. It will need to be disinfected, but it is perfectly sensible to re-use a nearly new cage.

I think while I am working and am fit and well I owe it to myself, my kids, husband and society at large to put away money that will keep me in old age, so that someone else does not have to!!!

Okay you lovely people, I am off to town - on foot - to do some errands.

Thanks for popping in.



Monday, 5 November 2012

This is not a blog about a dog

But she is a sweetie. I am over the moon and can't wait until she moves in with us.
Off now to do some crochet -

Sunday, 4 November 2012

And her name is.......

meaning -protector of women and marriages -
but we like it because it is a lovely name for our little girl.

Bulk cooking and a bit of baking

This weekend we went to visit our little girl, who was out of the kennel, with all her siblings, tumbling around. She is a lot bigger than some of her litter - rather chunky in fact. Han met her for the first time and it was love at first sight!  She is on solids now twice a day and has less time on her mother. Mum, Millie is being rested for longer each day. Having 7 pups has tired her out.

We start the task of naming her when all of us get together later on. I have some favourites.

Bindi - Aboriginal for ' little girl' and because she looks like she has a bindi on her forehead.
Dorrit (from Little Dorrit)

Mmmmm the others have ideas and it will go to a vote.

We also did a mammoth shop - after planning the menu - and I had a huge cooking session when we got in. I have made a meat base for a number of meals. One being  Bolognaise sauce, another mince with butternut pumpkin bake, and one more for chilli.

I bought 2 kg of chicken breast and cut the big ones in two, wrapped them all in batches of two and wrapped the 10 chicken thighs we bought in batches of two as well. For some meals I think we use too much meat in proportion to veg/rise/pasta - especially stir fries and other light meals. This way the chicken has been stretched out to almost double.

It was a solid couple of hours in the kitchen after dinner, but when it was all done, the surfaces, hob and sink wiped down, it felt GOOD.

Tonight is roast chicken and veg. Leftovers for lunch. Roast veg with a sprinkle of goats cheese and black pepper is delicious and it warms up well in the microwave at work.

We went to the Japanese school near Guildford today to drop off the girls and a Japanese friend of Hannah's that she met at college, for the annual Open Day. The girls usually call us to collect them some time after lunch and in the meantime, Big J and go to Guildford to potter. We got less pottering done this time as they called early, a bit disappointed about the turnout. (The weather was foul.)  We came home - and they are watching a particularly gory Japanese film on the laptop in the kitchen, while I write this. I did make us all a lemon and poppy seed cake for afternoon tea.....yum!

Tonight I crochet. It is so near the end now. I want Hannah's blanket done and on her bed so that I can start something new.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Feel good factor

Morale is low at work of late. Lots of criticism, tidings of woe, threat of fines and for some poor souls what seems a bit like bullying.....So sad, as we have such a great job. I love it when the patients ask for me because 'she knows all about me'.  I love knowing that in a very small way we can help smooth their journey through their treatment by keeping them up to date, responding quickly, getting questions answered and even booking cars to bring them in.

By mid afternoon today I had hit a slump. Really quite a low. The plan was to go to the gym after work but it seemed wiser to stay on a bit later and plod through some of the work.

Big J phoned me and heard it in my voice and suggested we go and see SKYFALL tonight. And my lovely, lovely gym buddy and friend Gill encouraged me to go to the gym first.

So we did. Third time this week. We did a hard warm up then some weights and I managed to get on the rowing machine - I do love it - and give it a bit of welly. The difference it makes, just working ones body, not ones mind is phenomenal. I felt quite lively when I left.

Big J is mid cooking and has selected a very nice giner pork stir fry meal and I am having a little vodka and tonic apperitif. And I am feeling good.

I love this version of the song. Check it out. x

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


It is Halloween but nary a ghoul nor ghost has rattled on the door knob tonight. Even though we have treats for them. The howling wind and occasional showers may be keeping them indoors.

It is the end of my three days off work and while lots got done, lots didn't. However, no beating myself up here, I also deserve a break.

Hannah's blanket is tantalizingly close to being finished, well the rows are. It will need a border, but not long now.

I have been slowly editing my yarn and fabric stashes and tonight I offer to anyone who might like to comment on this lowly blog:

100gms of 12ply Boucle Mohair


It is all the way from Oz, and is enough to make a scarf. I had plans to make a beanie with it, but I am just not a mohair sort of gal really. It itches me too much and while the colours are GORGEOUS, this pile of yarn needs to go to someone who will love it and use it. If you click on the photo below you should be able to make out the details. The actual tag is nowhere near as faded as this.
Just stick a comment on my blog (not a rude one please as that will not be counted) before Saturday 10 November to be in the draw.
Could be the perfect Chrissie pressie for someone...

Monday, 29 October 2012

Walking with daughters

On this half term Big J and I were determined to do something with the girls. Trips to London or Brighton tend to be the norm, but this time, we thought we would take them to Cuckmere Haven and show them the sights. The incentive for this being that their Dad is visiting from Japan soon, and he wants to see the Seven Sisters.....they would have first hand knowledge for his trip here.

But as we approached the coast the heavens opened and we had to re-think. We headed for the Badgers Tea House in Alfriston which makes the most delicious cheese and pecan nut scones.......yum. With their soup they are hard to beat.

The rain continued to blow in in squalls so the walk had to be postponed. We did snatch a few very windy moments on the beach at Seaford Head - with waves pounding - it was fantastic.

I love the sea when it is rough.

We are all home now, warm and dry. It wasn't quite the great adventure we had hoped for, but we all had a happy time.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Using up leftovers

With the remaining bulgar wheat for the Furmity, I made this today.
Apricot Bulgar Pudding

It looks lovely, smells delicious and with luck, will taste as nice.

RESULT: Zesty and tasty especially when warm.

New baby!

It has been talked and talked and talked about in this house, mainly by Big J and me, about getting a dog....yes, we have a cat, yes we have three youths, yes we both work part time, but the hankering got stronger.

We then spent time seriously considering are we right for a dog? Can we rehome a dog? (preferred option), how would a new dog and our wussy pussy ever get to tolerate one another, let alone bond?

Em was not keen at first as her loyalties are with Bosley. She asked some very shrewd questions.
Hannah and Adam were not here, but we spoke to both of them to make sure that they were comfortable with us persuing this.

It is a huge life-changing decision and to be honest, not an easy one. Lots of people have been so helpful. The Dogs Trust gave us loads of advice. Blue Cross did too. We spoke to the vet and the nice lady in the privately owned pet food shop (not a chain - although we do have one of those big shops here in town now).
The long and the short of it was that to help our Bosley adjust to this intrusion in his life, a young dog is best, one that can be trained to realise Bosley is not for tormenting. That led us to the Kennel Club list for suitable dogs and also onto puppies for sale sites. Warnings about puppy farms and ruthless traders abound. In a way it is almost too much information. But one photo of a litter of straight legged Jack Russell pups pulled on some heart strings and we decided to have a look.

I had my heart set on a bitch, please don't ask why, and also a broken coated one, rather than smooth. I called the owner this morning to ask some questions and show my/our interest and he told me that there was only one bitch left and someone else wanted to see it as well. We decided on the spot to go and see them. We told ourselves that we would be objective and there would be other pups.

We met mum and granny, very nice looking girls and very friendly. We met two pups, one male, a bit shy and small and one female who was a very solid little thing, much bigger than her brother, she wagged her tiny tail and nibbled on my sleeve. In fact she had a little nibble on both John and Em too. We talked a lot, we heard a lot and we decided to take her. She is not ready to come home for a few more weeks.

Here she is

Chubby and cheeky and with a little spot on her head.  We are going to have to let everyone have some input into her name and the next few weeks is about getting us all ready to be a good dog family and to keep our big beautiful puss happy.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Furmity warms the girls but the North Wind brings change...

Given that this recipe was found on the 'Net and has all sorts of nice things in it, the actual result is probably not very like the original version in Thomas Hardy's book  The Mayor of Casterbridge....but the response was excellent. We started off the Book Club meeting with a small bowl each with a tiny splash of rum in it. It certainly lined the stomach, which was a good thing, as it was a late night with much wine consumed. It was a great evening with good friends.

Since that night the weather has turned colder and it is icy today. Han and Adam are away, Big J was at rugby this afternoon and Em and I just kept warm indoors for most of the time. One run to the charity shop to rid us of more unused items and that was all.

But that wind brings change and plans are afoot to alter the line-up of the family in a small way. Watch this space.


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The Legacy of Dodgy Wayne

Dodgy Wayne was an ok sort of guy. He came to fix our down lights. He told us he could do it at a better rate than his boss and he would take the cash. Dodgy Wayne liked the cat a lot. He has lots of pets. He went to get us some good light bulbs, you need to use good light bulbs he told us, but don't pay the earth for them. He put them in and everything worked and for the first time in MONTHS there was a light above the work bench where I like to cut food and prepare meals.

He gave us a number and left telling us to call if anything goes wrong. He would come running.

Something went wrong. We called, and called and as the days went by each one of the lights failed again. This morning there was one still working out of six.

This morning someone else came and took out the little cracked remants of the 'good' lightbulbs and read the information on the side of the fitting to me that says exactly what is needed for that particular light. He replaced all of them. He was quiet, drank no tea - although I offered - I ALWAYS do - he worked quickly, he told me he sees this sort of thing a lot.

Sigh. We were blinded by Dodgy Wayne. We liked him. The cat liked him. We thought we got a bargain. 

What have we learned? Sadly that even though DW left a trail of trouble, none of us had ANY idea if what we were being told was true. Same goes for this morning's Silent Sparky, only time will tell.


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Thomas Hardy & Furmity

Tomorrow night is Book Club and it is my turn to host the event. Our book this time is The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy. I have a few pages left to read and have loved the book.

If you know the story, then you will recall the scene in the FURMITY tent in Chapter I. To get us all into the mood for Hardy's West Country characters and their foibles I have decided to make us a pot of the very brew....complete with a splash of rum for those who would like a shot of something to warm their innards!

I will be reporting back on the reaction.

To prepare for this occasion it is necessary to clean and tidy up and you know? I like getting ready for a gathering here.

Tonight I have wiped down doors, kitchen cabinets, the stove front, top and hood. Swept the floor and even cleaned out the micro-wave with a half a lemon blasted  in there to loosen any congealed fat. (Works a treat and smells lovely.)

Tomorrow - with luck - a gas engineer and an electrician will be calling to look at the ever growing list of things that go wrong all at the same time in a house.  We have a leak, three kitchen lights that blow bulbs every few weeks....don't go there! A bit missing off one of the radiators - an unsolved mystery to this day, as well as a few other things. But bite the bullet we must.

I will probably bake something and will have some crunchy veg with dips and some nuts. Wine, water, tea and coffee and a nice clean conservatory to sit in.

Lots to do still, but as I have been up since 5:50 and have been hard at work all day/evening - there is just a little time for me to finish reading the book.


Friday, 19 October 2012

found on FACEBOOK this morning.

Adam wrote: "very fortunate to have a stepmum like mine. Just got home after a week of band related activities and general couch surfing to find a ton of food, ironed clothes and fresh bedsheets.

Thank you Adam. Love you lots. x

Thursday, 18 October 2012

knickers on the table

Here I am, slightly tousled (not had a shower yet) in pjs knowing that work waits, and I have been reading blogs. Fox's Lane I love, and many others. After reading Kate's latest, I thought what a pretty life. People in blog land seem to be organised and have time and get things DONE and get things FINISHED. Wow, thinks me, WOW. Then I looked around at what I am sharing my table with this morning.
Breakfast, too hot to eat,
Two laptops,
and a pile of knickers to be folded and put away. The height of glamour!

There is no way at any time soon I will be allowing you to see into my world folks, the SHAME.

What is on your table/workspace this morning?

Be honest now!!


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

One thing and another

At this time of year I worry about spending money - more than usual, because Christmas looms and with it comes that terrifying notion that one HAS to spend money. Each year I endeavour not to go overboard, to plan well in advance, to stock up early and still end up feeling as if it is all too much.

If you read FQ's blog, you will no that she is encouraging readers not to spend anything at all in October. Good idea. And I have been far more careful than normal, planned meals all week, no charity shop sprees etc. Then disaster strikes and the car gets a flat....and a nail in another tyre and when it goes in, the man tells me a third one is bald......and he was right. So three new tyres.  Then the boiler died. Dead, kaput. And we have to fork out for a new one.

On the bright side. This winter there will be a very warm house and a very safe car on the roads. And I will still be prudent about Christmas shopping, because that still strikes me as spending money for the sake of it!!


Sunday, 14 October 2012

Quick summary of the week

Wednesday was a lovely, lovely day with J in London. We went to The Wallace Collection and had a wonderful time rambling through the rooms, seeing all the works of art. Like J, my favourite was a tiny work called 'The Hired Assassins' which was so perfect it looked like a photograph. It is exciting to think that people are capable of such precision. We went to John Lewis and Liberty to see their gorgeous yarns and I did not buy any!!

Mostly though, we talked about life, family, craft, (crochet included), decluttering, possessions, plans, dreams and notions and we laughed. It was great.

I came home bouyed up by the day and inspired to plug on at the culling and freeing up of my space.

I unravelled a scarf bought at a charity shop and am crocheting it into a cowl.
This was described as fan stitch on the site where I first saw it, but have also seen it called Iris stitch, which is a nicer name....

J told me about her meal/shopping planning and this morning we all put forward ideas for the week. Big J and I did a huge shop and the freezer has been cleaned out and rearranged.

A banana and walnut cake is in the oven now, old bananas and the rest of the items we had in stock. It is a Paul Hollywood recipe, so it should be good. (He is quiet cute!)

RESULT. The cake was amazing, if a bit sweet, but the middle fell out of it..... Paul would not be impressed, but happily the family are. Bless them.

Last night Big J and I went to a black tie dinner dance and wore the same clothes we wore last year and had a lovely time sitting at a table with people we had not met before.

The carpets are hoovered, the ironing is being done (the girls). The air is cold and there is a county rugby match on at the club, so I am going to pop along for the second half once the cake comes out of the oven....

The quilt is on its way to FQ and I have dug out a big pile of scraps for Gill. These will be in the post this week.

And the highlight of the day was that spectacular leap made by Felix Baumgartner over Roswell in the States. We listened to David Bowie as we watched it.....

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

AND THE WINNER IS..............................................

There were two contenders for the OHIO STAR QUILT which was very exciting, as I worried so much that no one would want it and it would haunt my WIP basket forever...... So, I have taken the rather practical and unimaginative step of deciding who gets it, based on who came first to the frey.

That person is none other than FRUGAL QUEEN - but as the other lovely lady GILL was pretty quick too, I have a bundle of FABRIC pieces from my stash which I would like to give to her. Would both ladies send me an email with your postal address and I will send you the parcels.

I will get to the PO on Thursday as tomorrow is a LONDON day with crunchnrustle yippee!

Frugal Queen, please post a picture of the finished quilt when it is done.

Liz x


Monday, 8 October 2012

Mum's birthday

Bless him, but Dad slipped an email out to us all to remind us of Mum's birthday - at 5:43am Queensland time - evening here in the south of England......happy to respond that I was on the case and was the first to phone her.....

But it is Mum's birthday in Australia and today is not her birthday here....tomorrow is (it makes sense to me - the date being 9th October here tomorrow) and that is the day I give away the quilt

I will have to do it after work tomorrow night, but if anyone else is interested, just let me know.


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Nightmare snowflakes

Put it down to my health and wracking cough if you like, but the attempts at the crochet snowflake idea has resulted in two terrifyingly ugly creations. They look like old lopsided spiders and are actually a bit creepy.  Another try is in progress, but I can't count today, so it keeps being frogged. I WILL make one nice enough to hang on the tree, but for gifts? BA HUM BUG.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Holed up in bed like Uncle Bobby...

Han very kindly passed on her nasty bug and now mama is coughing and spitting like Great Uncle Bobby - famed for his nicotine induced cough, yellowed lips and fingers. He used to sit on an up turned apple crate on the alter of what was his fish and chip shop, a few steps above the shop floor, in front of the huge frying vats and cough and wheeze while waiting to take orders! This was in the 60s so things were a bit different then!  Anyway, he was a kind if distant old soul who coughed a lot.
So am I really, holed up here in bed with Big J's iPad - far from the activity of the house. The wave blanket is here with me but only one row has been managed. It is such a pain that when one feels ill that with it comes the desire to do NOTHING.
Not the best way to start the weekend, and I hate missing work.

I note with a mixture of awe and panic that some of you are already thinking CHRISTMAS gift ideas and are working away. Me too. I am THINKING about it, but like years gone by, even the best laid plans and all that.... Last year never really got off the ground, on this blog there is evidence of that, but let's not go there.....

If however, I rally this weekend, I want to try and make a snowflake......awwww.. How festive...but chances are a bit like a snowballs' you know where!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Very good news from down under

Dad's cancer in non-invasive - great news for him and mum. Still waiting to hear what needs to be/will be done, but the relief in Mum's voice was palpable.
They are now planning Christmas in Syndey with Artist Sister and Hong Kong Bro and his family.

Lovely, happy news.

Things I like

Pomegranates because they are just so beautiful.

And lillies

Because a few stems can look so sumptuous when they flower. (I buy my flowers in ALDI or a local florist's, both are MILES cheaper than the big supermarkets.)

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Snatching time

It seems like a while since the house has been empty - and today there was a slither of quiet time on the cards. Time to tidy and potter in the silence. Maybe do a few rows on the wave blanket.

But, the phone keeps ringing, the doorbell has rung twice in the last half hour and a man with ear protectors is doing something very, very noisy to the lawn.

Still, noise aside, the place is mine to work in.

Big J comes home from Wales tonight. I want him home. Been a bit of a tough week so far.

Please don't forget the OHIO STAR QUILT which is desperately looking for a new crafter to make it whole.

I think later a walk to the shops to buy some flowers is in order. The house could do with flowers.

Sunday, 30 September 2012


A few years ago I wrote about a lady who gave me two quilt tops to finish off for her as she was losing her eyesight. With the best intentions in the world I took them on. I cut and sewed hexagons for one and made it bigger and brighter but I did not finish it because  I discovered CROCHET and all my patchwork templates and fabrics were left languishing, ignored in the basket from that day forward. I felt very guilty.

But I hung on telling myself that there will be time to work on them one day, all the while building my yarn stash and because frankly it was so hard to admit that these projects were not going anywhere under my watch.

These hanging on feelings clash directly with the desire to have fewer objects (especially unfinished ones)  and even though it might seem a bit pitiful to the organised and productive folk out there whose blogs I drool over and whose work and homes I aspire to, it can be very emotionally draining.

So today - while doing more decluttering, I decided to offer the big project to one of you lovely people out there. You may be a quilter, you may be part of a group who quilts, a teacher, someone on a budget - let's face it, quilting fabric can cost A LOT - or just someone with lot more get up and go than yours truely.

IF anyone is interested, just let me know in the comments bit. If a few of you are interested a name will be drawn out of a hat.


This spectacular quilt top is not complete - there are some spare squares, but you may have to make up more.

There are 35 squares (approx 12.5" x 12.5") The border is 2".

18 of them have been sewn together and some have been pinned.

It is HUGE.

It is ALL on backing paper - the traditional quilting method, but with careful measuring and sewing new blocks can be added without paper.

There is no template, although I do have the pattern (not to scale).

There is no spare fabric - all I got was the quilt top.

I will post it to you - anywhere - 2nd class in the UK and standard international anywhere else.

Here it is lying out on the (clean) kitchen floor- 8 loose squares on the quilt and some pinned.

Any questions? Fire away.

As for the little quilt, it has gone to someone local. x



Friday, 28 September 2012

Finger bunting

The finger became fingers and were going to be part of a hand, but tiredness won over and in the end Han did some of her nail art for me and we decorated 4 fingers and a thumb and made


true it is a little creepy, but at least they have nice nails!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

The finger

Tonight I am crocheting a finger for my fab friend ANN who is celebrating a birthday on Saturday and who works in the hand team (reconstructive surgery). I am winging it as there is little time to get it done and there is no real design in mind. ANN is a very colourful lass and loads of finger images spring to mind.....but this one needs to be able to appear in public and not be noticed too much, which means it needs to be a polite finger!!!

At the same time thoughts are with another friend in Japan. She helped me find some of the items that are up on ebay this week....fingers crossed (LOL)!

Piccies later.


Wednesday, 26 September 2012


Our beautiful youngest is 16 today. I love it that she is the girl she is. She has been through some very tough times but has come out the other end and it gives us great joy to see her doing her thing with her friends, volunteering, drawing and all the things she loves.  It is an inset day so she is off to have pizza with her friends and I think a movie is planned.

Last night a friend delivered this

huge OWL cake. Here he is missing a bit of his perch and a wing. We are a bunch of cake enthusiasts, but as we rarely eat it, we were all feeling a bit green. We now have plans to divvy him up between friends.....

Sunday, 23 September 2012

This week

We had a graduation. Adam got his degree from the Brighton Institute of Modern Music. How proud and happy were we.  A rare shot of us, am still in two minds about appearing in my blog!!

My Dad underwent surgery down under (in Australia) and came out perky and pleased. Still waiting to get results, but he remains positive and that is important. Mum sounds tired. She worries for all of us I think.

My nose got the all clear which is a big relief. How would one get used to a face they have known for 50 years that suddenly changes?

We went to see a David Bowie tribute band with the girls, who were the youngest members of the audience by MILES. Loads of nostalgic fun.

I have been ebaying all day - the weather demands it - and the fact that it is a free listing weekend! Hoping to make a killing, but will be happy just to get rid of things.

A roast is underway in the oven....something warming for this cold wet day.

And, it has been ages since any crochet (apart from the boob) has been on here, so here is the WIP that is Han's blanket. She choses the colours.....

It is so wide it takes ages to finish a row. I think I need to learn how to measure up my projects before starting them....


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Growing up very fast

My girl Han told me today she would like to go solo to Italy. She is 17, she will be 18 in January. She has applied for a job that she can work the hours that suit her, she has her plant nursery seasonal job at Christmas and she wants to head off to Italy in the New Year to see an old friend. (Someone from days of yore in HK who is now studying there). I was amazed. At her age,  it never would have crossed my mind to save up for a trip to go away alone! She makes me proud. They all do. No decision has been made yet, we have to see if she gets the job and do a bit more research. I am still learning, as a mother, to listen to ideas and not decide right away. Things need time to gel, to be thought over, to be discussed. Solutions do have a way of presenting themselves if enough work goes into working out the issue.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Cuckmere Haven

It is very important to have couple time so this weekend we had some. We were in this area last weekend and loved the view and the fact that there are lots of different walks to go on. There was no time last week but we said we would go back one day and do the walk down to the beach and we did. What a lovely piece of England. The chalky cliffs are beautiful and the water runs so fast beneath them.

Friday, 14 September 2012

On the nose - and my 500th POST - WOOOHOOO

This is it after the biopsy - sprung upon me without warning today as a patient cancelled. The attractive blue line is the bit that will have to come off if it is skin cancer, so most of the side of my nose. You have no idea how brave I feel sticking a photo of my snoz and my skin on the screen. It feels very up close and personal.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012


There are two piles of clothes in our bedroom. One for ebay - very small, but hey! One woman's fashion disaster could well work for another person out there.

And one for the charity shop, which is big. A ruthless, speedy toss out from the wardrobe and my drawers. It is true - cleaning out a wardrobe is like losing weight. My load is lighter now.

The latter will be marched off to the shop where I donate tomorrow. There are so many charity shops, but there is one I favour and it all goes to them.

Feeling pleased.


Sunday, 9 September 2012

What a sunshiney day

We went to EASTBOURNE to meet an old friend of Big J's from his days in Hong Kong. Adam joined us as he was at school with her children. Han and Beth joined us, for the lift only, they made their own fun. Em stayed home and worked on her Picasso homework....

The sea was glistening, yachts were out and these trailers were lying on the beach looking a bit like abandoned space vehicles - to my mind...


And the pilons of the groins literally glowed in the sun. What a fabulous green.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

A taste of my own medicine?

For a couple of weeks now a little lesion on the side of my nose has been bothering me. It bleeds, dries but does not go away. Happily I work for a consultant plastic surgeon who specialises in skin cancer. He very kindly donned his loupes to have a look yesterday when we were at work. He then put a hand on each of my shoulders, looked me in the eye and said 'let's go into my office, we need to have a chat'.

My heart was in my boots. In his office he drew a diagram of what it is and where it is and that is why we needed the chat. It is not sinister. It is a tiny little wee thing on the surface, it will not turn nasty, but it does extend under the skin and at this stage it looks like part of my nose will have to go and there will be a bit of plastic surgery necessary to maintain its look!

Now, every single day I talk to folk who are having bits taken off. Sometimes they are innocent lesions, sometimes sadly they are terminal, and the bits are coming off or out as part of palliative treatment. I am always positive, kind, reassuring and tell them they are in the best hands.....they are, I truely believe that, but now I think I know just a bit more how some of them might feel. Noses are tricky things, love em or hate, no one wants to loose a bit of one. 

The hardest thing to come to terms with at this point about my own reaction is that I am really scared about the cosmetic effect of having this done. It makes me seem shallow in my own eyes, and maybe I am.  One good thing is that now though, when a patient is telling me how scared they are, I'll get it. And in a few weeks time when mine is done I can reassure them by telling them it will be fine.


I have for decades worn a hat out in the sun, sun block, a rash guard when swimming and do not lie out in the sun for more than a few minutes at a time if I ever do it.  Lovely as a tan might look, do look after your skin folks.


Thursday, 6 September 2012

Boobie crochet

Well, boob only. This is what I made tonight for a dear young friend who is moving from the plastic surgery industry to new horizons. It is rice filled and is to remind her of the work she did. It could be used as a paper-weight?

The idea had been in my head for some time and when I was dithering about making a spherical shape (stress ball) or flat backed one that could stand up and did some research on good old Google, it revealed a whole WORLD of boob knitting/crochet - for post mastectomy patients, for teaching about lactation and for new borns to sleep with - with their mother's milk expressed onto them to familiarise them with their mother's special smell.

I like my boob. Hope she does too.


Sunday, 2 September 2012

Slipping into September

It is now nearly Autumn. Japanese granny flew back to Tokyo yesterday with her FIVE jars of home made blackberry jam - all with the seeds squeezed out, and one pot of raspberry jam made with fruit from our canes. This year she did not get to pick sloes, so she preserved some of mine that were in the freezer from last year to take back to make a little gin! School and college loom (in good ways), big changes in the lives of some of us this Autumn. Adam in the recording studio, Big J in his new office and me striving for a sense of managable order in life!!  Hoping for more family time/meals and walks even!!
Back into training on the bike, although the gym workouts have continued and it is about time I charged up the camera battery again. This is a spectacular season for photography.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Didn't she do well?

Han wowed us and herself with her GCSE results. Really outstanding and we are very proud and excited for her.
I hope your loved ones were happy with theirs.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Black bananas

While we were away the bananas in the fruit bowl went spotty and black. That means that no one in this house will touch them. Madness. Not moi. A batch of wholemeal banana nut muffins are in the oven as I type and the rest have been mashed and put into the freezer to make more muffiny things another day. Love not wasting food.

At lunch time my gym buddy and I did a short spin class. Exercise is just SO GOOD. It gives me energy.

The Spain photos are uploaded at least. I have to say something might have been lost in translation. They are not as brilliant as my memory, but nevertheless. Will get some posted, soon.

More sheets to tend to - did a TON of ironing yesterday - and some tidying.

Work tomorrow and I do NOT want to go back.....


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Down time

It is nice to be home and to be pottering. Four loads of laundry this morning. Quite something. But the beds all have to be done as the girls are coming home with Japanese Granny on Sunday....yipppeee. Han rang this morning. She is having such a good time she wants to stay on, but once she is back and at 6th form college, she will no doubt feel differently.

The holiday is fresh in my mind, so fresh it needs to age a little before I can look at the photos and write about it.

In the meantime, the never ending hope that this house will be clutter free one day lingers and today the drapey (all over the floor drapey), dusty curtains in the dining room have come down. I was never sure why the fabric had to be piled on the floor, but think the look was to be one of abundance and luxury. To me it was a deadly trip hazzard and a trap for cat hairs and dirt..... The down side of droopy curtains no longer being there means that the conservatory has been REVEALED in all its messy splendour....but this is not a bad thing. It becomes a reason to get it into order.

Despite its clutter, it is good to be home.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Nearly midnight

and we are home from our travels. We have covered a large section of Spain. We are tired, but it was so worth it. Ads is well, the cat is well, although he has a ratty ear, having been attacked by something this week. Ads thinks the fox, I think the next door cat. That feud has been going on for years.
Pics to follow.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Not using the internet

is hard. We are 5 days into the Andalucian holiday and I just HAD to check to see if there was anything from my girlies, my dad, who is not well again and infact anyone else. Nothing, not a peep from a soul, but then that means good news doesn´t it? No news is good news.
Off to have a siesta now on this important day in this country, the Assumption of The Virgin Mary.
Tonight is Spanish guitar, song and dance and we are off in the car to Jerez tomorrow.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Busy Lizzie

That's me. A flying visit to Whitley Bay over the weekend to celebrate mum in law's 80th. We took her to Corbridge for lunch, very nice place and some very nice shops. We also visited Hexham where Big J bought me a painting of a crow on a beach. Really! You have to see it to get it. I love, love, love it and it is now above our bed. It is by an artist called Fiona Clucas

On Sunday just after lunch the heavens opened and parts of WB and Newcastle were flooded. Big J managed to get me to Newcastle train station with only minutes to spare before the train left. Work on Monday meant an early return for me.

On Tuesday night I drove to Bedfordshire to see my bestie who is back from Japan. What fun, laughing, tears, talking (we are a bit hoarse). Less than 24 hours to catch up but it was wonderful.
I drove back on Wednesday night and we celebrated a neighbour's 70th with him.

Today I am tired but tomorrow night we fly off to Malaga which is a pit stop for our Rick Stein inspired visit to Spain. Driving from Malaga to Seville then Jerez, Cadiz and back the long way to Malaga again.

NOTHING is packed, washing still needs to be done lists made, dinner made I am off  to get on with it and to try and chill a bit because I am one stressy woman at present.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Olympic post II

The highlight for us being at the gymnastics is that GB and Japan were both medal contenders.

The Japanese team. Unfortunately Team GB were not facing us! The roar of the crowd for Lewis Smith on the pommel horse was fantastic. He is such a superb athlete to watch.

There were cheers and cries and falls and spectacular moves and GB got the silver. Then this happened.

There was much deliberation and no doubt extreme angst. Someone might lose a medal.

And they did. In fact we were all stunned as Japan went from 4th to 2nd. We thought they might just slide into third place.

From what we could see, everyone was professional and sportsman-like about the outcome.

If you click on the image it blows up a bit, but my trusty camera was pretty stretched, so it is probably a little fuzzy.

It was a priviledge to be there.

Thursday, 2 August 2012


Part II of the Olympics day out is on hold. There is a lot going on. The girlies left today for Japan for the rest of the month (most of it). We took them to Heathrow. It is different every year. They are young women now and take it all in their stride. I remembered the first time we put them on the flight back, they seemed so small. The house is very quiet and flat. Like their mum tonight.

Big J is not a well bunny, but he took me to Kingston Upon Thames for some shopping. His mum will be 80 next week and she wants an outfit to wear on her upcoming cruise!! No luck, but we did have a lovely lunch by the river and one day will go back for a  better look.

Tomorrow we drive up North to see the birthday girl, leaving as soon as work is over so there are things to be done.

Catch you all later.

Glum Mum.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Gold Silver and Bronze Moments and a Lot of piccies

We went to the men's gymnastics final at the North Greenwich Arena (you know it as the O2!)

With our two Japanese girls and two English boys it was a GREAT day.  I happily blend between these two groups, so cheer for everyone! 

Pretty amazing thank you. The weather was fantastic. London was sparsely peopled. Here is a cyclist in Victoria Street. This was at about 11:30am.

We caught a bus to Westminster and walked across the bridge and had a bit of fun on the way.

You can see who's boss in this house!

We took the Clipper down the river and got a feeling of how great this city is and how important the river continues to be.

I am such a saddo! At one time (before my 10th birthday) - I thought Charlie was a bit of alright!

This says it all really. London 2012 - Olympic City

Security was tight, we were a bit too close to get a shot of all the helicopters on board.

From the river, the arena looked like a tethered spacecraft.

The girls got nabbed by a Japanese TV crew. Han hand stitched the felt sun and the words NIHON on her shirt the night before. Em made a flag!

We all felt proud and very, very excited.

At this point - time to stop. A few more photos to go up but by now most of you are probably doing more exciting things like cleaning out your sock drawers than reading this.