Sunday, 31 July 2011

My guest blog (by geordie)

We had 2 ducks called Coco and Lola. They escaped through a hole that a fox left after he took one of the chickens for his dinner.
[see saga] We looked for them but we didn't find them. 
[random story] This week was a sad week because my hamster Banana Joe died [yep, known as wrong!] 
He died in his sleep and we buried him in a small box in the garden. We had a kind of funeral where we all said bye and Dad found some fake flowers to mark the spot... 

[back to the point]   When we thought our old ducks weren't coming back we were allowed to go and get some new ones. Me and my friend George went to the duck lady with dad. Mum stayed at home for the peace. [true] 
We saw lots of ducks, like these runner ducks. They are funny and all run in the same way.

The geese with the orange bills were noisy and duck with the red face was creepy. At first I thought it was a statue but then it moved.

The crows and jackdaws were being mean to the chicks and stealing eggs so the lady found a poorly one and when it died they hung it up to let the other ones know not to be mean or they would get hurt.
We also saw some llamas. 
They have very big front teeth that stick out and they can spit. Me and George couldn't pose for the photo because we were too worried that the llamas would nibble us. 
We found lots of llama poo![nice]

After that we were allowed to go into the farmhouse for a drink. It's apple juice in that glass. I made myself at home and had a good chat.

We were allowed to play with the camera. George took this one of me being surprised to see chickens

The lady called Anthea let us pick some ducks. We chose one boy and 2 girls.  They are Call ducks and were born in April.

You can tell its a boy because it cheeps rather than quacks and has a curly tail. We put them in a box and took them home.
When we opened the box the chickens were very nosey. We called the boy duck Bertie after George's Grandad. The girls are called Polly and Dolly. 

We played in the chicken area for a bit. There's Bertha in the picture - she still hasn't got many clothes. Dad says she looks like she's doing a BBQ . She's done a good job of scaring the foxes away and always gives Granny a scare if she has to go down at night.
We needed a house for the ducks so Dad bought a kennel. It was in the sale  [or so he said]
We were  allowed to paint it [Farrow and Ball? I ask you...] 
and I was allowed to use a hammer by myself [where was I?]
Then Dad built a tree house for it to sit on. The ducks are very happy in their new house.
They are at the bottom of the pecking order. This is Muriel  
[bottom until this point] chasing them
I also built a den this week. One day I found a letter from someone magic in it. I've written a letter back and it has disappeared so I'm waiting for a reply.
I hope you liked my blog.
Geordie x

Thursday, 21 July 2011

More random than usual....

Hooray - I have something to say!

I've never had serious bloggers block before... but for the last 2 weeks I've had NOTHING to say. Not a single thing. That and the fact that I keep meeting myself coming backwards...and it's not a pretty sight!

So, this week I discovered 2 things, the irony of which won't be lost on you.

No 1: Zumba for the XBox. 

Oh yes - I am one hot salsa dancer.  
(In my head)

I actually can't believe how hard it is - after the beginners session I'm needing oxygen and sweating like the 
fat lass I've become. 
But it's fun!

No 2:  toasted Soreen! 
I've always been a fan of the fruit loaf (fruit, loaf, what's not to like?) 
but last week Granny recommended toasting it and OMGoodness - it's a whole new kind of tasty treat. If you haven't tried it, and even if you think you don't like fruit loaf, give it a try.  
If you do three Zumba sessions you can eat the whole loaf (Dietary experts may dispute this...)

Now,  when I'm not eating loaves of fruit I've been busy with a mixture of the end of school whirlwind and plenty of chipper nelly orders and commissions.

...this next one is going to some special friends who are loving their new life by the beach! (we miss you)
Loving Cleggys new wall stickers - his business is called ABC Does....because his initials are ABC and because he is in education! 

I've also got around to placing some of my birthday gifts - and this was one I didn't want to photograph until it was hanging, for obvious reasons. 
It's another of Cleggy's gifts....I know, ABCDoes NOT know the meaning of the word budget! (unluckily for him I do!)

 It's made by an artist called Cindy, who has an Etsy shop called Marys Granddaughter, which you can find here . I LOVE the way our hearts are joined together - so true. Cindy's work is beautiful and I will treasure this piece forever.
And finally a tale of tears and laughter! I've very briefly mentioned before that when our #2 son Kenzie was little he had a rare form of cancer - and gallantly taught us all a lesson in courage and braveness. He underwent chemotherapy for 2 (long!) years and had long and frequent stays in the marvellous, if antiquated Pendlebury Childrens Hospital.

The whole time he was poorly, and for some time afterwards, his favourite film was Monsters Inc. Thankfully we liked it too - since we must have watched it together at least 2000 times. His favourite toy was called Little Mikey, a replica of the bear that Mike Wazowski had in the film. I've no idea where it came from (think it might have been from your house S & A?).

Anyway - here's the sad bit... during one such visit to Pendlebury we LOST LITTLE MIKEY! No one knows how...when we arrived we had him, when we left we didn't. Everyone was upset - I'm guessing things were pretty emotional at the time! (I was also heavily and unexpectedly pregnant - you can imagine the scene!)

We searched everywhere - we sent letters with a picture of Mikey, every time we visited the hospital we had a search, but to no avail. We tried to find a replacement but these were rare toys (bloody typical!) and they weren't EVEN on Ebay! years later I still looked sporadically and recently found out that Cleggy did too!

The happy ending is that Kenzie eventually beat the disease (he was given 50/50 so it was some battle!) and is now, as far as we know, well. He has a few weird hangovers too tawdry to go into - and may well have some health issues later on - but he is here, and for that we are unbelievably grateful.

Now, I was reading a blog post by lovely Gem a couple of weeks ago where she lamented the loss of her son's Noo Noo. I laughed out loud when she said she was going to look on google earth! (here's the link to her post - our comment convo still makes me laugh!) So, it reminds me of Little Mikey - and I have another look on Ebay. Yep - you've guessed it I FOUND one! exactly the same. Naturally, as he is flamin rare, I had to pay over the odds for what is effectively 3" of velveteen. And to make it even more ridiculous, Kenzie doesn't even remember the thing!!!
Little Mikey arrived this morning - I was beyond excited - and will now be seeking the perfect shadow box frame to keep him safe forever.

If there's anyone still with me (!) we have some more news in the shape of new ducks! But I'm whispering because Geordie Boy has requested a guest post to show and tell. Now, there was a lot of love for Kenzie's guest post about Ned - and GB has high please don't let me down!!!

fee x

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Timperley's Next Top Model

I'm trying to slow down a bit today - so no better time to photograph the roses and show and tell some buried treasure.
Despite the football playing, recent building work and serious lack of attention, one little part of our garden never fails to bring a big smile to my face in July...the beautiful rambling rose.

It was particularly luscious in this mornings sunlight
I walk under it on my way to work (ie the workshop!) lucky?

Down behind said workshop, where the chickens live, we've recently found all sorts of interesting things buried in the mud. The boys (and Cleggy) were delighted with an intact foxes skull, and I've loved the bits and pieces of tile and glass. 

This weeks treasure was an old bottle stop

and a wonky bottle - perfect for tiny flowers

Chipper Nelly has been lovely and busy - but I've also found time to make some gifts for friends and finish some commissions.

Here are some of this weeks makes;
An old favourite - little heart box for one of my oldest friends
 some more friendship boxes:

and a new style home block:

#1 son only has a few days left of primary school - which feels a little sad (although he definitely needs knocking down a peg or two so I'm also looking forward to him starting high school!). He was delighted to be cast as Fat Sam in the year 6 end of year production of Bugsy Malone, which is one of our all time favourite films!
Alfie in white with his hoodlums

The school decided to do use the original screen play - complete with live music - an ambitious project. They absolutely nailed it and I was SOooo proud of Alfie. 
As someone who would rather stick pins in her eyes than be on stage I am always astounded that my children have such ability and confidence - and can say with certainty that they do NOT get it from me!

Although they have been rehearsing for weeks they didn't use the silly string  (splurge) until the actual performance...for obvious reasons. 

It was a great decision - the kids had an amazing time with their full cans and the final scene was just like the film (where I think you can also see the actors enjoying themselves)

Loving your work Alfie!

Apart from having the (fab) songs from the film in our heads for weeks the boys have also picked up some more original name calling. I'm pleased to report that 'you big salami' and 'yooooo knucklehead' (in Italian New York accents) have replaced various less appropriate insults.

Finally - I present to you my first granny square! My lovely friend Jane is the best teacher a (porky fingered, impatient) girl could have and after 2 short lessons I can do links, trebles, corners, changing colour and growing! I do realise these aren't technical terms but you get the idea. How anyone can do it while watching the telly I don't know, but that's the goal.

(must add that Jane did the middle bit - I only did the last four rows!)

Cleggy has been away all week and is driving home late tonight - as always I've missed him terribly. I have, however, been able to indulge in one of my favourite ways to waste the time I don't have...watching Britain's Next Top Model (full of envy for their skinniness whilst making my own lardy arse even bigger with the aid of chocolate). 

Since I have full control of the dibber, I also found an old episode of America's NTM, which I missed first time round. (season 8, fat Tyra). OMG, I'm in heaven.
But I feel the need to share this with you....last night, at dusk, when walking down to put the chickens away, I tried my best catwalk. Yep, full on strut, pout, THE WORKS. And I was wearing crocs. 
fee x

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Still in love...

Another Saturday, another night out - I can't believe my luck! I feel like it's 20 years ago - which is rather appropriate...                                                             

We have some lovely friends Elizabeth and Richard who live in London and who we don't see enough of. We first met about 22 years ago when Elizabeth had just qualified as a dentist - and I was her dental nurse in my holidays whilst at college. We became firm friends - the sort of friendship where you can not see each other for months (this time almost 2 years) but when you do get together it's like the time hasn't passed - and you say a teary goodbye vowing not to leave it as long next time....

For reasons too complicated to blog about we wanted to thank them for their recent kindness - and what more excuse do you need to book a nice restaurant....UNLESS it happens to be your 18th wedding anniversary on the same weekend!
So, child free (THANK YOU Granny...again!) we jumped on the train and by lunchtime found ourselves in Malmaison London, with a bottle (or 2) of something sparkling and an M+S 'buffet on the bed'! Heaven.

I booked Jamie's Barbecoa restaurant for dinner, partly for the food, but also for the view. It's hard not to love the sheer splendour of St Paul's cathedral - but to have it in your eye line for a meal is a treat in itself. It didn't disappoint - great food, service and, of course, company.

Now, when Cleggy and I got married all those years ago, wedding photos were of the kind where everyone lined up and smiled on demand. Needlesstosay - we don't have many of them up on the wall! These are the only 2 - and if you suspect that Cleggy is suppressing a laugh in the first one you'd be right... 

Yep - it was the era of a 'leg of mutton sleeve', acres of fabric and seemingly MASSIVE eyebrows! 

When I met Cleggy, also 22 years ago (I never made enough of actually having a nurses uniform!) I fancied him like mad. He made me laugh til it hurt and I would rather spend my time with him than anyone else in the world. I'm pleased (and grateful) to say that I feel exactly the same way today! 

..and here we are (with less eyebrows and more crows feet!) 
18 years later

We didn't have very long in the big city - but always love it and wish we could visit more often. This time we only walked to the restaurant and back - but, in true tourist fashion,  managed a few pictures
beautiful, unexpected church
didn't know such a place existed...
an unexpected country garden
an unexpected glimpse of St Paul's in the daytime
...and at night
We've been through some (really) tough times over the past couple of decades but our relationship has seen us through feels like yesterday that we got married. If there's one thing I have learnt in that time it's that life is too short and should be lived to the full - and I hope that we are lucky enough to spend the next 18 years together...laughing til it hurts, enjoying every day we spend together and appreciating a cheeky night in a London hotel! fee x