April 15, 2015

Wednesday 25th March Beautiful..The Carole King Musical

Morning…so last night consisted of a picnic on the coach to the theatre. I didn’t provide anything but my friends came laden with baguettes, quiche, nibbles and of course a glass of pink bubbles to toast us on our way to see Beautiful! One of our friends managed to knock her pink bubbles over as she passed us our theatre tickets, so she was lucky to firstly not get kicked off the coach and secondly, not be ignored by us as she smelt like she had a severe drink problem! Love driving through London, it is so beautiful, but we had to see it through rain splattered windows and at speed, which doesn’t make good photos easy.

photo 1 (98)photo 2 (88)London enhancedLondonBig wheel

Big Ben 2

We arrived and up in the Circle bar it was a tight squeeze, particularly when a coach load arrive! We decided to have another drink, as you do, but chose to have it outside the mens toilets! Even better I chose to ask a man who was hanging around the ladies toilets to take our photo and thought nothing strange about it. I was standing on a ledge, smililg brightly, so indeed look like the BFG on the poster behind us. All in all, a beautiful sight…NOT!

Beautiful

The stage was set with the curtains open and a piano.

Beautiful stage

The show started and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew it had won eight Grammy awards and was about Carole King but surprisingly I knew most of the songs from ‘You make me feel like a natural woman’ to ‘you’ve got a friend’. I wasn’t sure if this was a sign of getting old, but I hadn’t realised she had written songs for the Drifters, The Monkees, Aretha Franklin and The Shirelles. The story was inspiring and went through her life from a struggling, song writing teenager, to her chart success, her failed marriage and finally her having the courage to sing her own songs and become a succesful solo artist. The seats were not very roomy and didn’t help my bad back, so in the interval I moved myself to where I could stretch out my legs and be more comfortable. The show was brilliant and for the second time in a week I have seen a show I would happily see again. It is Beautiful.

On the journey home we had a handbag foldaway bag roll from the front of the coach to the back and then our quiche decided to do a flying leap out of  the bag on the overhead shelf and land on the floor..perhaps a sign that we had too much food and didn’t need anything more to eat…it ended up in the bin.

My mum has been told that when she can climb the stairs she can go home from hospital. I am looking forward to finally seeing her after work today. A beautiful end to a horrible week.

April 14, 2015

Tuesday 24th March Beautiful Chick Activities

Morning…Good news! Mum has been moved to the main ward and ate her first semi solid food last night. I finally hope to  see her tomorrrow after work.

Tonight I have a ticket to see Beautiful, the musical about Carole King. I have had a lack of sleep, so hope I stay awake long enough to enjoy it! I’m  also hoping to see some beautiful, fluffy chicks have hatched when I go into school.

Our chick activities this week have included making egg shakers with lentils, beans and marbles, so the children can explore different sounds.

egg shakers

In one of our builders trays we have frozen eggs..a strange concept that has nothing to do with helping fertility! We put water with some cheap fluffy chicks in a balloon, froze them, removed the balloon and the chldren crack away at ice eggs with the spoons! This was very popular yesterday.

ice eggs

frozen egg

The children are also writing a daily diary at the Mark Making station.

egg  diary

Yesterday the break time chat was about how one of our helpers was offered a free 32inch TV if she moved to Sky from Virgin. I’ve been away a few days but nothing much changes when it comes to our conversation..A colleague replied without thinking “I would love a 32i nch in the bedroom” and the helper replied “Well that is a bit greedy!”  We laughed…it had started again.Today at break the misinterpretations continued. We are not allowed nuts in school due to allergies and colleages were discussing food receipeswe could use in cooking with the restrictions in mind. One colleague, whilst discussing it said ” I get my nut fix first thing in the morning”…”yeah I bet you do” was the reply…she was rather embarrased, it wasn’t of course what she meant.

I had to leave school promptly after our staff meeting. I needed to catch a coach locally at 5pm. When I left none of the eggs had hatched. I got on the coach and received a text and a photo. The first had hatched. Beautiful.

first egg

April 13, 2015

Sunday 22nd and Monday 23rd March Living Eggs Arrive

Morning…Jersey Boys was such a great show yesterday and I’m still singing “Oh, what a night!” Today I have a costume rehearsal for Showtime 2015, where my son’s sing a Jersey Boys medley so I can get a second fix of the music! Costume rehearsals are always such hard work and I have been more disorganised than ususal with my mum being ill. One son has pretty much sorted himself out and the other, who thankfully works on a Sunday, has not sorted a thing…glad he is not coming because it would be me who would be told off!

Was it kind to buy me a super duper large box of Maltesers on Mothers Day. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful but I can’t stop eating them!

open maltesers

l spoke to my dad and brother yesterday evening and mum seemed a bit wobbly when they visited. She has always been so strong and yet she seemed low. They thought she had tears in her eyes as they left, which I found upsetting. I am getting frustrated that I can’t speak to her, so dad is going to ask if I can phone her when they are visiting today. Hopefully the ward will be quiet and he is going to message me between 3pm and 4pm, so I’ve got to keep my phone on standby.

Rehearsals are so manic and trying to sort costumes, plus sing along as a backing singer meant time passed me by without realising it. I happened to take my phone out to take a photo and saw dad had rung. I rushed outside and rang back to be told mum was feeling much better, the hospital were pleased enough that they were going to move her from a high dependency ward and I could finally speak to her. Her voice sounded a little strange because of the anaestheitc but it was so good to talk to her.

Costume rehearsal for one, rather than two wasn’t actually too bad ,although son choosing to change miles from the hall when he has lots of quick changes and is in numerous numbers was always going to mean he missed some entrances! At the end of my Sunday I hadn’t yet been able to see mum but I was feeling happier and more positive.

Back to school and I’m still getting the early morning shakes, not a dieting drink but my labrynthitis! Thankfully the cold is improving. This week it’s the time of year I love in school when Living Eggs are delivered, stay for two weeks and the children and staff get to watch them hatch and grow. It is such a wonderful experience but you don’t get much done for watching!

eggs to hatch

Our focus story is an information book we found called…

where do chicks come from

We hadn’t been able to read it before ordering it online, so my LSA, who ended up reading it to the children, skimmed over certain bits as the book went into more detail than we thought necessary for 5 year olds! Hoping we are lucky and all  the eggs hatch and are healthy.

April 12, 2015

Saturday 21st March Jersey Boys

Morning…my Labrynthitis is still causing me to feel a bit shaky, particularly first thing in the morning but I’m feeling better in myself. Unfortunately, not well enough to be allowed to go and see my mum on the high dependency ward, where no germs are allowed.

I have been in bed listening to early morning expletives as the en suite door handle has finally snapped…tempers are snapping too! My family keep closing the door and then realise they can’t open it. A knife appears to be the break out tool and I keep being asked to get out of bed to assist from the other side. Wondering how long before it will get fixed, as my husband does not rate DIY as top of his list of ‘to do’ jobs!

Just had a phone call from a close friend to say her son, (Dayle Hodge) who we have known since he was very small, is going on as Frankie Vallie in Jersey Boys at Woking, which is localish to us. I’m very excited!

jersey boys programme 2

His family and ours have performed and socialised together regularly over many years. Jersey Boys is a show I have wanted to see for ages and knowing that Dayle was in it I’d decided to wait in the hope I could see him in the lead role. Unfortunately, he is the swing and only knows last minute when he is playing the part. The phone call came at midday but my husband had work committments. Having been unwell, I didn’t want to drive alone so I asked my son who is a big Jersey Boys fan and has seen it twice already. He had been expecting his girlfriend to come round, so we had the organisational nightmare of trying to contact her to see if she wanted to come and if it was possible, as she was still at work! Her shift finished at 1.30pm which was cutting it fine. She needed to pop home to change and with the show starting at 2.30 we had to rush to pick her up, drive as fast as we could without breaking too many speed limits. The theatre was half an hour away and we arrived panicking, with minutes to spare. I dropped off my son and girlfriend at the entrance so they could pick up the tickets whilst I parked. I parked and ran, not a pretty sight at my age! Thankfully my ice cream calories have now been worked off! I arrived to find Dayles’ mum and sister, my son and girlfriend all causing a queue as they tried to sort out a problem. Our special cast house tickets had been booked but for some reason they were booked for Jesus Christ Superstar in Liverpool..wrong show, wrong place! Our friends rushed off whilst we stayed to try and sort out our tickets.Once sorted we ran to the theatre usher, but unfortunately the show had started. We hadn’t missed much but we had to stand and watch the beginning from the side and wait until an appropriate moment to go to our seats. Although it was a mad rush I was so glad I made the effort to go. The show was amazing, our friend as Frankie was brilliant, we sang, clapped and I even had a liitle dance in my chair! After the week I’d had it was the real feel good factor I needed and defintely a show I’d like to see again.

Afterwards we went to stage door to see Dayle and I was an embarrassing mother. We all had our photos taken with him and I got him to sign my programme.

Me and Dayle

I  was then an even more embarrassing mum and asked to have a photo with another of the Jersey Boys (Lewis Griffiths) who played Nick in the show, as he was chatting to us.

me and another Jersey boy

An elderly lady cme over and asked Dayle for his autograph. She then turned to my son and asked for his. She failed to spot the lack of a quiff! We had to disappoint her and say he wasn’t actually in it!

group jersey boys

A nice ending to a horrible week.

 

April 11, 2015

Friday 20th March Neighbourly Kindness

Morning…Timehop is great for reminding you of events, mishaps and muck ups of which I have plenty! I always thought my knowledge of food shopping was as good as any until a friend said he shopped with Ocado. I replied “We don’t have any of those shops where we live, but we have a Waitrose”..He then enlightened me and I contemplated changing my auburn colour, which is now out of a bottle anyway, to blonde!

ocado.jpg 1

My dad has been overwhelmed with how kind everyone has been since my mum was ill. Yesterday, on the day of her major operation he had a lemon drizzle cake delivered and in the evening the doorbell rang and he went to answer it to find a warm fruit cake just out of the oven, on his doorstep. It was from his next door neighbour. People have been saying prayers for my mum , masses around the world have been said,  positive thoughts and vibes have been sent along with get well messages, cards and flowers. I was even sent some flowers from my college friends, who I have known for over thirty years. So thoughtful.

flowers

Dad’s life has changed somewhat and he is having to be very domesticated . Suddenly, he has to do all the household jobs and cooking my mum did, which is a struggle when trying to fit in visiting my mum daily at Southampton hospital, half an hour away from where they live. I am still feeling rubbish and instead of being able to help my family or visit my mum, am spending another day in bed. I shouldn’t complain when my mum has gone through what she has gone through, but I’m frusrated I can’t be with my family when in need and when you don’t know what’s round the corner. I am even missing the eclipse at school, although it looks like it will be missed by those capable of viewing it anyway!

Mum we have heard is now conscious but in a heavily dependent ward, so we can’t phone or Face Time her. I’m relying on family for updates. They are visiting her later.

Whilst sick, I have had some friendly company to occupy my mind, but for the moment he seems to be either struggling with the day light or can’t bear to look at me! I do love my cats.

cat

 

April 10, 2015

Wednesday 18th & Thursday 19th March Mum’s Cancer Operation

Morning…Fiddler On The Roof rehearsal last night and the car journey home in husband’s people carrier was like returning from a school trip, full of noise and mayhem from all seven passengers. We live 27 miles from where we rehearse in Twickenham but still travel up and down the M3 to perform with TOPS, because the shows are of such a good standard and we have so many friends and family involved.  These photos are when we did Fiddler On The Roof in 2004 at the beautiful Richmond Theatre, a time when the society was more financially stable and show costs less.

Fiddler2004-31

Fiddler2004-260[1]

Somehow,over the years friends and partners have joined us and whilst the big ‘family’ feel has increased , it requires a large capacity vehicle to get us all there and back! Unfortunately on the journey home, I was in the cheap seats, row C, almost the boot! I was sitting crushed between a bushy bearded man, (grown especially for the show, so shows great dedication!) and a chocolate cake eating one. It was one of our passengers birthday, so they had taken cakes and the left overs were being distributed to anyone still hungry in the ‘van’..he was feeling particularly peckish and had been all evening..it won’t be long before he is my size and three of us might not fit in row C!

I had a busy day at work, which ended with me filling in assessments until 6 pm in the knowledge that I was off work for the next two days because of my mums big operation. As the day went on I started to panic. My head became more and more blocked rather than less, despite having numerous Lemsips. It became clear that I would still not be able to go down to my parents to see my mum before her operation and support my dad. 2015 has so far not been the best.

Thank goodness for Facetime! We all spoke to my mum in the evening and she was able to at least see my eldest son who she hadn’t seen in a while due to college and work. My dad has got my youngest brother with him so he has support which makes me feel a bit better. Mum appears so strong and yet how must she be really feeling? We were all strong when talking to her but in the quiet of the night my mind started on the what ifs again. The ‘what ifs’ that had been laid out by the consultant as real possibilities. What if it affects the main nerve and she can’t walk again properly? What if she needs to have a stoma bag to manage? What if the cancer has spread and they can’t operate at all? What if she doesn’t make it through the operation? Fear started to go through my body, it is struggling, but how can I struggle when mum, who is going though this horrendous ordeal is outwardly not?

at christophers

The morning of the operation and I try to open my eyes but they are sticky, I’m coughing and spluttering and feel unwell. My body has had enough, so I stay in bed. I am not up to driving down the motorway and my family don’t want my germs, as they need to be well enough to look after mum and she mustn’t get ill. I Face time my dad who dropped my mum off at the hospital very early with my brother. They both went to my other brothers for breakfast. We are lucky to be a close, supportive family. They stayed at the hospital for a while and my younger brother finally met the consultant, who we were putting so much faith in. My dad was pleased the whole family had met him before the operation, an operation that could take between 5-16 hours and involve 10-12 people. We would not hear any news until after it was finished.

The morning dragged and whilst my body felt unwell I tried to keep my mind occupied. At lunchtime I phoned dad, he had heard nothing. One fear lessened. They must have been able to operate otherwise we would have heard by now. The afternoon went slowly and suddenly my youngest son announced he had an appointment he needed to be at. Local transport is not great and he had left is so late that I had no alternative but to get up from my sick bed. I wasn’t best pleased as I wanted to be near a phone. We were almost at our destination when my mobile rang in my bag. I could feel the panic and fear rise and I shouted at my son “this is why I didn’t want to do this!” He rummaged through my bag, sensing my dread, as I carried on driving, I could feel the tears forming and he finally answered it. It was my husband who had heard from my dad. The operation was over, my mum was ok and it had gone as well as they had hoped. The tumour was smaller than it looked on the scan, it had not gone through the stomach lining like they thought, it had not affected the nerve and she did not at the moment need a stoma bag. The consultant made it clear she was not out of the woods and the next few days and weeks were critical but they were happy. I cried with relief, she had survived. I phoned my dad when I had parked the car and after speaking to the consultant and putting the phone down, he had apparently done the same.

thank you

April 9, 2015

Monday 16th & Tuesday 17th March A Spring Walk

Morning…I have a cold, headache and labrynthitis still playing up so sadly not feeling my best. It is raining and miserable so sadly not the best weather for taking small children on a Spring walk to buy hot cross buns. It is more likely that I will be the one hot and cross!

This week our focus book is The Jolly Postman, something I’m not feeling! Whilst on our Spring walk we will be posting the ‘Thank you ‘ letters the children wrote to Wellington College for allowing us to visit their chapel a couple of weeks ago and I will try my best to muster a smile.

The Jolly Postman

We were surprisingly lucky on our walk. The weather stayed dry until we were nearly back at school, when the heavens opened and we got ever so slightly damp. Unlike another year group in our school who were visiting the common when the heavens opened and came back looking like drowned rats. The way I’m feeling today I have to be grateful for small mercies, glad I wasn’t on their trip! The shop we were walking to didn’t actually sell hot cross buns which might have been a problem to people less enterprising. We spoke nicely to the shopkeeper a couple of weeks ago, who was amenable to our suggestion to overcome a lack of hot cross buns in his shop. We bought the buns ourselves, delivered them on mass this morning, all ready for the children to visit, pay 20p and for him to supposedly sell them a bun in a bag! Each group on the walk had a Spring watch tick sheet. We managed to spot all the spring flowers, blossom and birds singing but there was a distinct lack of nests, despite me walking around with my eyes skywards, scouring the trees and bushes with my hopeful, beady eyes!I should have perhaps had them on the children in my care, plus the path I was walking along, but thankfully I have eyes that can multitask! I unlike the birds nests was highly visible with my high visibility jacket and looked like a beacon Michelin man.

spring walk

I got home to find a present from my eldest son who had failed to get me a Mothers Day gift yesterday..a lovely thought and just what a woman who should be watching her chocolate calorie count wants..it’s doomed! I might as well accept failure.

maltesers

My nose continues to be blocked, my head is still hurting despite Lemsip when I got home last night and my voice is weakening…something I always worry about, since losing it for five months. A black cross depicting lurgy household must be above our door. Last night we travelled to Young Set to practise for the forthcoming Showtime 2015 extravaganza. Today my performing choir will take part in a less extravagant local Song Fest at a nearby school, to sing folk songs from England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. Just remembered I need to transport children in my car, which is full of rubbish and costume bits, the children might start to wonder about me, if they haven’t already, so think I better get moving and give my car a much needed clear out!

Song Fest a success …my Scottish accent singing “Three Craws Sat upon a waa”..a big fail!

April 8, 2015

Sunday 15th March A Torn Mothers Day

Morning…Happy Mothers Day to all mums and especially to my wonderful mum who has done so much not just for her family, but the wider community.She is facing the difficult week ahead with the outward strength and philosophical approach that has carried her through her life and which we all admire. For me, this day is one of so many mixed emotions. I know I am lucky to still have my mum around to say ‘thank you’ and show my appreciation and love. Many at my grand age don’t, but with the operation to remove the tumour on Thursday ahead of us and the fact that we knew nothing about it until a couple of weeks ago, life is suddenly so uncertain.Your mind starts to wonder and think about the what ifs.The risks and dangers have been laid clearly before us by the consultant and whilst there were positives, there were plenty of negatives too. I sadly do not have my mum’s philosophical and strong character traits and often wish I did, instead I’m a worrier and often fear the worse. My husband says ‘if there is something you can do about it then do it, if you cant, stop worrying!’ but it is in my nature and not worrying doesn’t come easy, especially when life is tough!

mum and me

Yesterday I went to buy my mum some gifts that we could take to her today. There was no point in buying bunches of flowers,as she wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate them in hospital, so I bought a basket of plants that she could replant in their beautiful garden at a later date. She loves shortbread so I bought a box that she could nibble on whilst in hospital and then I bought her some slippers as hers were looking tired and worn.We insisted she bought a new dressing gown when she first was taken into hospital. She is not one that likes to spend money on herself, so it required some persuasion, but having bought it she can’t wear tatty old slippers on her feet!

mothers day gifts

My mum and dad haven’t seen the extension so I took some photos to show them what it looks like now. We have moved on slowly, the walls are all painted magnolia as being indecisive I didn’t want to commit to a colour and find that I hated it or it didn’t go. When the kitchen units go in potentially it will be like sitting in a bowl of whipped cream, just as well I’m a pudding lady!

extension

Mothers Day plans all changed. Husband has had a cold and I was beginning to sniffle, had a sore throat and was suffering from recurring labrynthitis which I seem to get when a cold is in the offing. We decided as the morning went on and I was feeling worse that we would drop gifts off and leave promptly, but ten minutes into our journey and after a conversation with my dad, it was decided it was best not to risk it. Mum has been told she must not get a cold otherwise the operation can’t take place and we don’t want to jeopardise it. Again, mixed feelings as I won’t get to see her before the operation unless I am well by Wednesday, but I also don’t want to be the cause of her being ill, so have had to put my sensible head ahead of my emotional heart.

We drove home and decided that as we hadn’t eaten, to have a Sunday lunch pub meal at the Ely on the A30. We phoned on the motorway and they said that whilst the restaurant was busy due to it being Mothers Day, we could have a roast dinner but eat in the pub, which suited us fine. I had roast turkey and then being a pudding lady I had a naughty but very yummy dessert! Weight loss is still going in one direction.. the wrong one.

pudding

me and jack

…a pub selfie and beard looking good for Fiddler On The Roof in May !

in pub

April 7, 2015

Saturday 14th March A vase of Spring Onions!

Morning…Mum’s day in school finished off my bad back so I couldn’t walk, let alone dance and didn’t make my Friday evening dancing group. Instead an impromptu drink at the pub with friends, plus fish and chip supper afterwards for my husband’s birthday which is today…my toyboy and I are the same age for at least three months! Drinking and eating required only hand exercise, so thankfully I didn’t put my back under too much strain. Last time we got together with these friends my husband rudely suggested my hairstyle was like Dog The Bounty Hunter. My hair style has moved on as in the pub he shone his phone torch under my chin and told me to sing Bohemian Rhapsody…what a comedian!

Friend..Morning Brian..

Friend…Freddie actually..oooie oooie

Me…by the way ‘is this the real life or is it just fantasy?’…..the jokes continued…

queen

Timehop has kindly reminded me of an event last year which even now makes me smile. After the stress and trauma of my son’s accident I decided to treat myself to some daffodils from our local Waitrose. (being only a couple of minutes away it apparently now means our property is worth loads!). The daffodils looked like this but not in flower at all.

daffodils

They strangely disappeared when husband unpacked the shopping. He was on a health kick and decided to have a salad for supper and took out some spring onions from the fridge…they were rather unusual! I posted this event on Facebook and he wasn’t allowed to forget it! Ever the comedian, a few days later I came home to find a gift in a vase on the kitchen side…yep, a comedian!

spring onion flowers

Youngest son is looking for a job and was putting his CV in lots of envelopes today to deliver to shops and pubs. I had to point out a flaw in his envelope addressing that would perhaps hold back his chance of getting a job, unless of course he was applying for a job in the church or a cow shed.

envelope

My mum is enjoying spending her last weekend at home before her big operation on Thursday. We are all on tender hooks, she seems to outwardly be taking it in her stride. Looking forward to popping down to see her tomorrow on Mothers Day with the gifts I purchased today from Marks and Spencer and the garden centre.

 

April 5, 2015

Friday 13th March Comic Relief

Morning…woke up again at ridiculous o’ clock with the words ‘Oh What a Night’ singing in my head…if only! That’s what happens when you spend an evening listening to the wonderful Young Set, a performing group my two sons have belonged to since very small, rehearsing a Jersey Boys section for their next big show Showtime 2015 in a few weeks time.

Young set 2015

Mind you, a whole group of mums searching for midnight blue lycra pants on line, that Tesco surprisingly didn’t sell (My ridiculous suggestion, I was under the impression they sell everything!) and people pondering and working on a red jacket for Jersey boys was to some ‘oh what a night!’…but maybe not the night they might have wanted.

Yesterdays class assembly went well which was surprising as my student was ill, the lead singer of my Celebration song was absent, but thankfully the rest all rose to the occasion, spoke clearly and acted and sang well. When a parent came up and said that she had been to numerous assemblies in her time with her eldest being at university and yet todays assembly was well thought out and the best she had seen, I was happy, even if she was just being nice!

Today at the end of our week focusing on the book My Mum is Fantastic, we have a mums in School afternoon.

My fantastic mum

It is also red nose day and a mufti day, as long as we decorate our face in some way. By the time I got to school the face paints were out and I painted a red blob on my nose and a caterpillar face on each cheek.

comic releief

It’s been a bit of a week for ‘tasty’ so as we reach Friday I shouldn’t  have been surprised that suddenly I’m surrounded by hundreds of cakes which I have to taste..it would be rude not to. A parent made some special Comic Relief cakes for the staff.

Comic Relief cakes

Then because it was mums day in school, along with making a necklace, a tissue flower and doing lots of activities outside, all the children decorated a cake for themselves and their mum for Mothers Day on Sunday…and of course there were some left over for me to try!

mums day cakes

I’m glad it’s Friday my stomach needs a rest.