September 29, 2015

7th- 13th September Son Issues And Signing.

Morning… another Monday and another week of mornings only for the Reception children I teach. I am beginning to sound like a stuck record with my constant verbal reminders of class behaviour, routines and expectations and I’m wondering if ‘listening’ might be an issue!

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I have a deaf child in my class, so I’m having to ‘learn’ as well. I have to study how to sign and have been ‘signed’ up for an online course with the British Sign Language. It has seven sections with an assessment at the end of each one and then there is research to be done and sent off.  Learning to sign just the word ‘Fiona’ has summed up my feelings about today…how can it take me so long to learn to sign five letters, three of which are vowels? I’m not sure I am going to pass this course anytime soon or with flying colours, there is too much to remember for an old brain like mine and I seem to be losing the ability to spell..my name is not ‘Foina’..honestly Fiona sort out your vowel fingers!

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It’s Tuesday. Labrynthitis has flared up and is causing me problems. Eyes have become light sensitive and I am needing different glasses inside and out. I keep leaving them around the classroom and forgetting where. I have found that my vlog “The Bag of a Fifty Year Old” has been most useful as my colleagues have now got inside knowledge of my glasses and their cases having watched it and are able to help me locate the correct ones…result!

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It’s Wednesday. Issues with listening are transferring to my own ‘big’ children, who frankly should know better. Son number one aged nearly 23 seems to be unable to follow simple instructions. I asked him to put the cooling soup in the fridge as he was going downstairs and I was about to go to bed. He acknowledged my request, but in the morning I found it still sitting on the side. I asked him to wash the dirty clothes he kindly dumped in piles on the landing for me to wash. Instead he washed the CLEAN clothes folded in the laundry basket…good luck Guildford, his domestic skills need some work when he moves out for his final year in a couple of weeks time!

It’s Thursday. Last night I went to see the musical Sunny Afternoon in London with some friends. We caught the coach locally and it dropped us off just outside the theatre. We managed a quick drink beforehand. The theatre was small but it was a really good show about the rise of The Kinks and included lots of their songs like Lola, Your Really Got Me, Dedicated Follower of Fashion, Waterloo Sunset and This Time Tomorrow. At the end they had a standing ovation. Unfortunately the rest of my day was anything but sunny, more cloudy with a few hailstones along the way.

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It’s Friday. We have started going to the pub after work, we’ve started treat Friday and I need to buy chocolate for the team! It is my PPA morning, which means I get to do planning and am not in the classroom and as the children are mornings only this week, my Friday is suddenly looking up!

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It’s Saturday. I had a bit of an issue with chocolate treat Friday when a child patted my tummy and said “is there a baby in there?” I drowned my fat tummy misery with a glass of laden calorie wine! I must do something about it…the tummy not the wine!

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It’s Sunday. I am about to do the taxi ‘run’ when I can only just about ‘walk’ after back spasms in the middle of the night. Tonight we have the Swan awards at the Landmark centre for the musical society I belong to. Wishing the five nominees and the TOPS company lots of luck…I am the designated driver…there’s a surprise! This was a photo from last year. It’s a beautiful building.

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September 19, 2015

2nd-6th September Winston’s Hutch & Marshmallow Matey’s

Morning…Winston the rabbit has been brought a new rabbit hutch from Amazon as the old one is rotten.

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As he is a roaming rabbit he doesn’t spend all day in his hutch, but he had small friends sharing it with him who had made their home in the disintegrating roof. Also, winter is coming, so my husband decided we needed to purchase him a warm, new home. The recently acquired hutch is still two storeys, wider, taller and with a pitched roof…I’m quite envious, as it is very spacious for one!

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My eldest son said he would put it together which I thought was brave as he has never been particularly  DIY orientated or good with his hands. In fact he is left handed and uncoordinated at the best of times. He might be nearly 23 years old and I can’t tell him, but sometimes I do despair, for instance he eats ‘Marshmallow Mateys’ for breakfast…who eats them? He does. I hadn’t even heard of them until I found them in my kitchen cupboard. Apparently they are American and can be purchased in the Foods from other country’s section at Tesco’s, at the extortionate price of £3! I only know this because I have just looked online for the purpose of this blog and can’t believe that he has been using my money to buy them!

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Anyway back to his DIY ability..I have just walked into the kitchen to find a box on the floor, opened, scissors on the sofa and a bag of screws next to it…DIY was sadly a step too far, even after a bowl of mateys!

It’s Thursday. The rabbit hutch has been made by son number two, whose DIY skills were surprisingly good!

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Husband has now become the Kim and Aggie of Hutch care and has put the rabbit mansion out to air in the garden and flung the doors open to the elements! Apparently he doesn’t want the rabbit to be overcome by fumes from the wood treatment. I wish such concern was had for my welfare.

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It’s Friday. I have been awake since 5.30am and can see my body and mind will struggle later today.

The rabbit is now in his mansion hutch, so we have a broken hutch along with the old carpet, washing machine, fridge freezer, bags of cement, old chair, old goal posts, rusty BBQ and a pile of rubble in our garden.

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I’m waiting for our neighbours to recommend us for some reality makeover programme and Alan Titchmarsh to turn up!

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Of course we could just receive a letter of complaint from the council, which would be most humiliating.

It’s Saturday. Husband is away most of the weekend being a presenter for a fundraising Cabaret in London, so I will be making the most of my home alone time with housework and cat de-fleaing. I really do get all the best jobs. I have a lovely 50th celebration to look forward to later.

It’s Sunday. The yummy food and Pimms I had last night, certainly made up for the all day rumbling tummy and one smoothie I had yesterday! My friend had even made a celebration cake with sparklers stuck into it, which were lit, whilst we sang “Happy Birthday.”

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My world does seem a bit up and down at the moment..weather, weight, work…even Winston who has taken to climbing up on to the garden bag to try and get in the open kitchen window, until we get him down. Would like a bit of balance in my life…weather on the up, weight going down and work perhaps in the middle would be good!

 

September 12, 2015

Sunday 30th August-Tuesday 1st September Bird & Carter Farm Shop

Morning…two days left of the summer holiday! A lie in would be nice, but son was working due to it being a bank holiday. Weekend buses are non existent where we live and he doesn’t drive, so good old mum is this mornings taxi service.

“What do you do before the shop opens?” I ask as we are driving there.

“What do you mean?” he asks.

“It’s Sunday, so shops don’t open until 10am” I say.

“oh no!” he exclaims “I could have had a lie in until 9.30am”…HE could have had a lie in? So could I!

Instead it was a bacon sandwich and a mug of tea in a café to waste time and guess who was paying?

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Later today my husband and I go to Salisbury to visit my mother in law and husband’s step dad. We are hoping to go to the big car boot sale tomorrow at Wilton.

It’s Bank Holiday Monday and typical British weather for a holiday, it is pouring with rain! We decided to go for breakfast at the Bird and Carter Farm shop early and watch to see if the grotty weather was here to stay or a short, sharp shower . We arrived and the sign outside said ‘closed’ but when we popped our heads round the corner, they were in fact open and just hadn’t got round to changing the sign. This was very beneficial for us…we were the first ones through the door and the shop and cafe were completely empty!

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We had a choice of any table and any chair. We even did a little move about of the chairs to ensure we had the most comfortable ones.

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In the corner of the room was a much needed log burner on this August bank holiday to give the room atmosphere and heat.

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The breakfast was delicious and the staff very friendly. We all had a full English breakfast although the men went for the added black pudding and mushrooms. I had scrambled egg instead of fried, because I’m a bit fussy when it comes to eggs! All the breakfast products were fresh local produce that could be purchased in the large barn farm shop next door and you could really tell they were not mass produced. The shop seemed to have a wide variety of produce that if you lived locally or were passing by would be lovely to peruse and purchase.

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By the time we had finished, the café was full of families and couples taking the opportunity to eat out of the rain in a lovely environment. It seemed child friendly with toys and highchairs for the children and appeared very popular locally. If you look at the facebook page it has four and a half stars out of five from 12 reviews, so appears to have an excellent reputation which I would agree with.

On the cafe walls were local artists paintings for sale too. it is nice to see venues that are supporting local community traders.

Unfortunately the rain hadn’t stopped when we finished our breakfast, so a group decision was made not to go to the car boot sale, but to return home.

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Bank holiday is really taking the pee…in weather and pricing. Just heard that my son who in order to get into work on time, as no buses early enough and we were not there to drive him, had to order a taxi. He was charged £25 for a ten minute journey which is so not right. He only earns just over £5 an hour, so that means it cost him more than half his daily salary.

It’s Tuesday. The day has come and summer is over for all school workers.

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September 10, 2015

Wednesday 26th- Saturday 29th August Excess At Sopwell House

Morning…I am not a fan of spiders and even as an adult I have sadly screamed, perhaps with a little less noise than when I was a child. I have also had my fair share of spider rescue and removal either by my dad when I lived at home, or kind friends, children and husband later in life. Where spiders are concerned, I am sadly feeble and if they are nearby I get agitated. This morning I thought I was being quite brave when I saw a huge one race across my kitchen floor and chose to watch, breath deeply and sigh with relief when it disappeared. The next minute I heard a meow and our fluffy black cat called Pepsi was looking up at me proudly and next to her was the spider…crumpled and not moving! Although I didn’t ask for help and my rescuer might not have been of the human kind, I was sort of quietly grateful.

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Not much time left now before the summer holiday is over and I’m back to work, so trying to get myself sorted… unsuccessfully.

It’s Thursday. I have been a work taxi service for my son and am now packing for my two day Spa visit with college friends, which is just what I need. I’m hoping that my facial will iron out the wrinkles, the swimming pool will have cellulite and core strengthening chemicals and the alcohol and food consumed will have zero calories because that is what I’m really looking for!

I drove to my friends house in Greenford and we drove together to Sopwell House, a Spa hotel in Hertfordshire. We arrived and our bottoms hadn’t been on the soft sofa’s and armchairs long, before our other friends arrived and the porter offered to take our rather ample luggage to the rooms.

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We each had one small suitcase, a handbag and an extra bag full of food and drink for lunch, which was carefully disguised as oversized hand luggage! We tried to keep hold of these, to stop the enormity of our food and drink smuggled parcels being found out. We have been going to this particular Spa for the past 3 years, ever since we celebrated our 50th and keep returning as it is so nice. The deal we get always includes one evening meal, lunch and a treatment along with our overnight stay. We always take a picnic for our second lunch and each year the amount we take is far too much. This years attempt to cut down failed abysmally!

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We have planned a fun day ahead.

It’s Friday. We had a facial…wrinkles are still there but moisturised and glowing! I have been told I have oily patches around my nose and side of cheeks and it has been suggested I exfoliate weekly and cleanse both morning and night…once a day is apparently not sufficient.

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We swam and sat in the Jacuzzi but my core is still useless and although cellulite was pummelled, it has disappointingly not melted away as hoped.

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We dressed up and drank Champagne from the classy tea cups in our room. This hopefully reduced the calorie count as I couldn’t measure or really see how much alcohol was in it and as we didn’t have much time before dinner it was thrown down my throat very quickly.

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Our friend announced she was asked for her car registration when she arrived. She gave it. We have just pointed out that it wasn’t her car in the car park, as she got a lift and didn’t drive! Don’t you just love life in your fifties and what it does to your brain? :-)

It’s Saturday. Being naughty and carefree in your fifties is helping yourself to extra shampoos, towels and body lotions from a trolley parked usefully outside your room. It’s about walking around the garden in oversized fluffy white gowns and oversized freebie slippers looking like the teddy on the counter and making as much noise as a group of small children.

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It’s about having an enormous food fest picnic in the room, drinking and eating food galore and after eating three puddings persuading friends they need to share a fourth because the chocolate mousse section has just been refilled..

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it’s all about excess! Sadly, it will soon come to an end.

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Happy Bank Holiday Weekend Everyone.

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September 6, 2015

Monday 24th-Tuesday 25th August Wading Through Puddles At Osborne House!

Morning…last night after my sons pub work shift had finished, we drove down the M3 to the South Coast to visit my parents. We are going to the Isle Of Wight for the day, but have sadly woken up to horrendous weather. Not what you want when you have to go on a ferry.

The Isle Of Wight is a place that as a family we love to visit as it holds so many memories. Both my parents were bought up in Cowes and my dad was born there. As children we used to spend a lot of holidays and Christmases there. I even spent the first year of my life living in a granny annex flat adjoined to my grandparents house, (with my parents of course…I wasn’t a home alone baby!) and of course I don’t remember it ,but I’ve been told! Both families were heavily involved in Amateur Theatre and sailing, and my parents have continued belonging to The Island Sailing Club even though they now live across the water.

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My immediate family and I have obviously inherited and followed one of these family traits with our involvement in Musical Theatre, but after my latest holiday I’m not sure what happened to the ‘sailing ‘genes. I certainly didn’t inherit any of them!

Although my parents live in Lymington and there is a ferry that goes from there to Yarmouth, my dad had booked the Southampton ferry which takes you to East Cowes. We left late, a terrible family trait! Having to drive in torrential and heavy rain meant that it was difficult to make up time, although mum whose driving has always been jokingly compared to James Hunt by family, gave encouraging words to my dad by saying “keep moving!” The conditions weren’t exactly easy to do so and at times the rain was so heavy we couldn’t see in front so the journey was a bit stressful! We should have been at the ferry terminal at 10.30am but arrived at 10.45am, so just made it. We were all much relieved when they let us line up with all the other cars…we weren’t the last so others had obviously struggled to get there on time too. Once on the ferry and the car was parked, we found the café area.

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Drinks were brought and mum’s knitting came out.

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As we came into Cowes we could see the new breakwater being built which is supposed to give more protection to the harbour, but in some ways spoils the view.

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Once we arrived, we had to travel from East Cowes to West Cowes across the Medina River on the chain ferry or floating bridge. We parked the car along the sea front and went into the Island Sailing Club for lunch.

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A quick walk up the high street and I spotted two cushions in a rain splattered shop window that I hope will depict me as an ageing old bird!

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Having dodged several heavy rain showers we returned to the car and went back over the floating bridge to the historic palace of Osborne House, the family home of Queen Victoria.

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As we walked up the long entrance path to the house we came across a fairy ring of mushrooms. In folk lore they apparently can bring bad luck, so I’m not sure if I’m happy my mum spotted them. We also came across a man looking very embarrassed trying to turn his car around. He had missed the entrance to the car park and was driving down the private road towards the front door! It’s the sort of thing I would have done, so I sympathised and laughed at the same time.

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The house itself was full of very grand furnishings and artwork. We visited the state rooms and family rooms . We saw the four poster bed and bedroom, where Queen Victoria died and the photograph of Prince Albert and his pocket watch hanging on the headboard. We went up to the old nursery and servants quarters. We had a sit down in the famous Durbar Room which was elaborately decorated for state functions with Indian style plaster work. The staff were very helpful and found us a lift so my mum didn’t have to climb the many stairs. They were also very knowledgeable. When we finished our tour we went out into the lovely gardens, which were very well looked after and with views over the Solent. We managed a quick walk round before suddenly the heavens opened again. I even managed to get a few photos with my son, which is always a challenge.

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The rain started but was torrential and we found ourselves wading through huge puddles..my flip flops no longer seemed such a good idea! We decided we needed to take shelter, but the café at Osborne House looked busy and more expensive than we were looking for, so we headed to a local pub. When my parents had a boat they used to go to it as it was on the waters edge. It was called The Folly Inn.

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We ordered hot chocolate, cake and a pot of tea and it came with my favourite, a piece of fudge. I was happy and my son was happy as he had marshmallows on the top of his chocolate.

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We returned home on the early evening ferry, having made sure that rain did not spoil our day or dampen our spirits.

It’s Tuesday. Returning home for physio and hoping I might be able to kneel this week as sailing wound finally healed.

 

September 5, 2015

Friday 21st -Sunday 23rd August Soup And Selfie Stick Issues.

Morning…It might be the holidays but I’m going into school today to spend a day sorting out my classroom after a visit from the cleaners. They might clean, but they don’t put everything back where you left it, which is so annoying.

It was lovely to return to a bowl of home made soup made with our new soup maker, a purchase from the New Forest Show and an anniversary gift to ourselves. You put the vegetables, stock and seasoning in the machine, cook it for 25 minutes, press the ‘smooth’ button for a quick whizz and it is all ready to eat…delicious.

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sou[ made with soup maker

It’s Saturday. Amazingly its warm on a weekend which is such a bonus! The fact that the rabbit escaped out the front door as I went to take son to work was unfortunately not! Husband was very unhappy he had to spend twenty minutes chasing the rabbit in the road and was not impressed when Winston decided to relax under a neighbours car and not move…just where he couldn’t reach him. I had only left the front door ajar, as son was late for work and I spotted the milk delivery outside, shouted and put it just inside the door for husband to put in fridge. I was not to know the rabbit was roaming the kitchen and had forgotten we no longer had a kitchen door that shut…I was not Miss popular when I got home!

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We are off to celebrate a friend’s 30th Wedding Anniversary party in the garden later and it looks like we will be lucky with the weather. We were at teacher training college together thirty years ago and have stayed friends ever since. As the weather is looking so good I will be able to wear my Dorothy Perkins denim sleeveless dress that I finally collected from Outfit, for the sale price of £12 (a bargain)

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It’s Sunday. The anniversary party was fantastic. My diet is ruined and laughter lines are increased. My selfie stick caused much mirth as I struggled to use it, failed to position the camera correctly and was mocked for about ten minutes, as I hadn’t realised it needed a battery! My husband had to eat his words when the light came on without a battery, so my plugging it in a socket must have done something! Unfortunately, the camera then clicked 26 times without me doing anything, so I have a selection of photos of …absolutely NOTHING! How will I ever get to grips with modern technology? It might help if I read the instructions properly, but I am a person who needs to be shown and then do it myself…several times..I call it getting old, but am not convinced that I didn’t have traits of it in my youth!!

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A selection of photos of my face that my husband took afterwards said it all…not surprising I have to buy wrinkle cream!

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My sailing wounds were discussed as they were on view thanks to the weather and according to my husband my scab now looks like pork scratching with a hair coming out of the middle of it! The description put a lot of people off their food and made me grateful I was drinking and not driving. The scab is annoyingly getting very itchy. I won’t post a photo as don’t want to make people feel ill.

The day was  a lovely day full of chat, food, drink and celebrating. It’s lovely when you know people so well, that you still laugh and can have fun in your fifties like you did in your teens and early twenties and it doesn’t matter if you see each other only a couple of times a year.

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celebration for doris and sean.

The washing machine has also sadly died after three leakages and being reported for noise pollution! it is now in the sideway with a growing collection of rubbish. One day it will all make the tip, but I’m thinking it won’t be any day soon.

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September 3, 2015

Monday 17th-Thursday 20th August Kitchen And Carpet Chaos

Afternoon…I might struggle to stay awake as my eyes were open at 4am and watching Escape To The Country and The Great British Bake Off kept me wide eyed and awake and not sleepy and brain dead as hoped! My chauffeuring services were required early to take youngest son to work at JD Sports, I’ve yet to see my eldest son, but then it is a trifle early at 1pm and my husband has flown to Denmark. Wow this Summer holiday is going so quickly!

It’s Tuesday. My kitchen was last night put in my garden in preparation for the next three days. I’m grateful it didn’t rain overnight!

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Mid morning and I keep getting hassle, firstly from the cats because workman have taken over their domain and secondly from the workman not happy as previous floor tiles were apparently stuck down with superglue! In two days time we’re hoping our kitchen will have Karndean wood affect flooring and our bedroom will have a new grey carpet. It will be strange having proper flooring in the kitchen, after 9 months of concrete, dust inhalation and a continuous need to sweep. We won’t know ourselves.

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It will also be strange to have a new carpet in the bedroom after 13 years of walking on one that is hard, has zero softness and pile and which for the last year has had a whole pot of paint poured over it!.

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I went to physio late morning, leaving my son in charge and thought on the way home I’d pop into Outfit to buy a Dorothy Perkins denim, sleeveless dress that I had seen in the sale. I’d tried it on a couple of days ago, but thought I could order it on line with discount, only to find that my size and every other size apart from size 6 was out of stock! I dashed in and picked up the dress I had tried previously in store, got to the till only to find that my credit card was missing. I phoned home to find that my dear son had borrowed it the previous night and not returned it to my purse…I thought he had taken cash. I was not best pleased, although they agreed to hold it for me for a couple of days behind the till.

As we couldn’t use the kitchen, because the floor was a no go area, I returned home to a brie and bacon sandwich lunch at the pub with my friend.

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We weakened at the sight of the dessert menu and I drowned my sorrow at failing to buy the dress today with a glass of wine!

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It’s Wednesday. I got out of bed and put my feet down on to something soft and thick…no, the cat hadn’t been sick but we have our new bedroom carpet down!

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My son asked me last night to wash his work shirt by tomorrow, so thought I’d do it overnight as fitter here today and then I remembered… the blooming washing machine is in the garden and not plumbed in…think he might be in trouble unless fitter is a fast worker! I made myself a cup of tea this morning, now we can step on the floor..and the milk?…yep also, in the garden! Roll on tomorrow when it should all be finished.

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Kitchen flooring is finally coming along nicely.

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It’s Thursday. Kitchen floor finished a day earlier than expected, but now kitchen door and cupboard kickboards don’t fit, so someone has to sort that out at a later date!

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What you don’t want after having new flooring put down and told to not get it wet for a while, is for the washing machine to leak everywhere as not plumbed in properly…hoping sons, towels and panic has sorted it and water was not down long enough to damage flooring…this kitchen has been such a drama!

The kitchen is gradually coming back into the house, whilst the replaced household items and odds and sods have been put outside in the garden! I looked out of my bi fold doors to see Winston the rabbit and one of the cats having a tiff over the old carpet. The rabbit was trying to be friends, but the cat wasn’t really having it and kept him at arms length…each sitting on their own roll.

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September 2, 2015

Saturday 15th -Sunday 16th August Grateful And Goodbye

Morning…our shower room no longer has any bath towels, our toilet no toilet rolls, our fridge is full of out of date meals, our fruit bowl full of uneaten, ageing fruit, baskets of dirty washing are still at the top of the stairs, sink is full of dirty saucepans, wet towels left in the machine and a drying out passport is in the airing cupboard, but the house is still standing, the pets are still alive and I’m grateful the cleaner came yesterday. We are home from our holiday in Menorca!

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Yesterday we had to check out of our fabulous villa by 10am.

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I said goodbye to my lovely seat by the pool.

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My husband said goodbye to the biggest satellite dish ever.

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We both said goodbye to the villa and took our last journey in the car we had hired. It’s not a car on reflection we were disappointed to let go of, as it struggled with hills and huffed and puffed just like me an unfit, fifty something staggering up a slope!

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We returned our keys and said goodbye to our patient sailing instructors. They certainly deserved this weeks salary trying to teach us! We had a last cup of tea at our favourite restaurant with a view, Ses Salines. Unfortunately the view today was not as fantastic as usual due to cloud, but I was grateful it was dry and without the thunderstorms that were forecast.

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I even managed to finish off a third book, despite it having nearly 500 pages. I always find Jill Mansell easy to read and you get into each story quickly. Sometimes her characters have such tragic lives full of multiple dramas that I do wonder if I should be grateful for my sometimes tricky, but incomparison uneventful life, or worry about the impending disastrous times I must surely have ahead… that’s if her books are true to life of course! Fingers crossed disaster doesn’t happen and happy to be grateful for life with the occasional tricky moment!

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Before driving to the airport we drove into the pretty town of Es Mercadel, which is in the middle of Menorca. It seemed very quiet with lots of whitewashed streets. It had obviously had a fiesta recently, from the flags and garlands hanging and fluttering in the wind.                     .

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We found a little café called Las Vegas that did a three course meal deal. We were only going to have one glass of wine, but found it included a whole bottle. It was such good value and was the equivalent of approximately £22 for two. The starter salad was filling enough, but was followed with a fried fish main course and ice cream for dessert. What more could you want at that price?

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Not sure if it was the wine or the number of photos I tried to take that caused this nutty expression from the other half!

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This bourgainvilleas plant in the restaurant courtyard was so pretty and vibrant. I always remember trying to grow one back at home but failing, so I always love to see them when we holiday abroad.

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The flight home was delayed and we arrived at Gatwick cold and with torrential rain. The holiday, the sunshine and the heat was brought to an immediate end but we were thankful for a lovely two week break.

Today I will be finding the missing towels, clearing the mess and washing two entire suitcases worth of clothes!

It’s Sunday. My washing machine was on it’s last legs anyway, but after yesterdays marathon session it is on it’s knees and very noisy! Thankfully, my airing cupboard is now full of towels, the dirty washing at the top of the stairs has gone, the kitchen sink is empty, the fridge and fruit bowl have had a clear out and the passport is wrinkled but dry. I’m grateful the washing machine survived, but not sure how long it will be before we have to part company!

I lovingly made my husband a cup of tea this morning and he in return clips his nails and flicks them all over the bedroom. He has told me that this is entirely acceptable, can’t be helped and is why we have a cleaner. I must send her a note. I’m sure she will be thrilled.