Monday, 17 July 2017


Spoiler alert - this post could quite possibly be all about the wedding.  Actually, who am I kidding?  It will be all about the wedding.  Did it go well?  I'll let this photo of Rachel give you a hint

I have never seen her so happy!  100% can't stop smiling happy.  The day was just perfect, I can't think of a thing that we would have changed.  It was a little bit cloudy, but warm enough to have the ceremony outside.  

Which is a bit of a novelty here, I've never been to an outside ceremony before and none of their friends had been married outside so it made the day even more special than it already was.

The cake which had stressed me out so much looked fine

And the happy couple/trio had the most amazing day of their lives

As you can imagine, Leo managed at times to steal the show - when he came down the aisle in the arms of the chief bridesmaid with a sign saying 'Daddy, just wait until you see Mummy'.  Not to mention when he went up to the ceremony table to have his photo taken with them after they had signed the register. And the time that he showed impeccable timing in cuteness.  He had been a little overwhelmed by the noise and amount of people in the room when we first sat down for the meal and someone had taken him just outside the room until it quietened down.  When his name was mentioned in the Father of the Bride speech, she stepped back into the room with him, he grinned at everyone and gave a little wave.  One of those totally unscripted brilliant moments.  What a superstar he is.  

We are still on a wedding high, and my Facebook pages are full of tags from people who have uploaded photos. So I'm spending much of my day just refreshing my feed!   Normal Monday morning service will resume as soon as possible!

Saturday, 8 July 2017

It's getting closer

The wedding is now THIS Friday!  Oh my goodness!  I'm pretty sure we've got things under control but I still wake up with an anxious feeling in my stomach every morning, wondering what it is that we have forgotten.

We had a 'hen meal' out at a local Turkish restaurant on Friday night where I discovered the joys of the Espresso Martini, and also discovered that it best not to drink one after midnight if you want to get off to sleep easily when you get home!   The bride-to-be had a lovely evening, she has such a great group of friends and they have truly sent her off in style.  Next week I shall share pictures of the real thing but for now I can only share a snap of her in fake wedding dress and veil.

I'm starting to get emotional at silly little things now.  A kind email from a friend who was a huge part of R's life growing up brought tears to my eyes, proof reading Paul's speech had the same effect and just looking through the reading that her brother will be giving during the ceremony had me in pieces.  She told him he could choose the reading himself - could have been a bit of a risk as he's not known for being conventional - and he's come up with something so touching.  Now look what you've done, I'm all misty eyed just typing this up.

So this week my main project is cake making.  Three tiers of madeira cake to be baked and iced.  This may be contributing to that anxious feeling inside!  I'm sure it will be fine.  Maybe if I have one of those cocktails to calm my nerves before I start weighing out ingredients?  Maybe not a good idea!

The countdown begins ...

Sunday, 2 July 2017


1st July was the designated day for starting Sanditon.

I'm immediately feeling an infinity with the main characters.  I too got lost along that coastline several years ago when an incident at home meant that instead of being the passenger of the car driving us down to the south coast, I ended up being the driver.  Let's not go into details but just say that my husband will never, ever be allowed to try and 'fix the roof of the shed' singlehanded on the day before a family weekend away.  One emergency paramedic visit later and dosed up on painkillers and anti spasmodic medicine to try and relieve the muscles in his back, I was unexpectedly promoted from co-driver to 'person responsible for getting us to the south coast and back'.  With no sense of direction, no Sat Nav (they weren't available to your average family back then!) two squabbling kids in the back seat and a husband who had fallen asleep due to all the medication in his system, it was hardly surprising that I drove all the way, parked up in a sea front car park in a wonderfully triumphant manner, woke up husband with a 'ta dah!  we're here!' comment only to be told we weren't in Eastbourne, but Hastings.  

So, you see, after just a few pages, I'm already sympathetic to them.  I love the way that all these years since it was written, the circumstances behind their initial misfortune is still being played out nowadays.  So many stories of people typing the wrong name into a sat-nav and ending up at the wrong end of the country without realising it - technology may be here but the same old mistakes are still being made!  

It's been a while since I've read a book from this era, I've been avidly reading mysteries and psychological thrillers recently so this is a huge culture shock but it's good to shake things up a bit and it's really obvious how much styles have changed over the years.  Jane Austen certainly did love her commas and long sentences!  

So, even though it's given me flashbacks and stirred up the whole family joke of my awful sense of direction, I think I'm going to enjoy it.

Thursday, 29 June 2017


I mentioned a while ago that I was joining in with the photographic scavenger hunt that I saw mentioned here on Mary-Lou's blog.

Now I do love a challenge for the summer, so immediately knew that I would be joining in.  I was on holiday in Croatia when it started and was thrilled to start ticking things off from Day 1.  

I've tried to keep the ones I have found in the order on the list but blogger doesn't always put photos where I want them so bear with me if we get a bit out of sequence!

3 A web
4 A Zig Zag

5 A seasonal relaxing space/item

10 Something yellow

11 A toy only found out during June to September

14 Someone fishing

15 Something crafted from wood

17 Circles in architecture

19 Feet

21 A plaque

23 Something powered by wind

24 Seasonal food

25 A hat

Monday, 26 June 2017

Memos, mail and me

Was it Groucho Marx who said they didn't want to belong to any club that would have him as a member?  

Well, that's what came to mind when I saw that Julie and Ruth had serendipitously found themselves in possession of the same, unusual, book.  As often happens in blog-land, one thing leads to another and then all of a sudden the 'Sanditon-along' book club is born.

Now, I've always fancied joining a book club.  I like the idea of seeing how other people may interpret the same novel.  But years of A Level English Literature made me a bit dubious in case the analysis became a bit deeper than I expected.  I remember having to write an essay on why D H Lawrence chose particular flowers in Sons and Lovers.  I also remember thinking that he possibly just looked out of his window and chose things he could see in his garden.  How was I going to turn that into something meaningful that would fill 4 sides of A4 paper?  No, let's think of why he may have chosen sunflowers over delphiniums.

Then someone I worked with had a book published.  After years and years of submitting novels to publishers, suddenly she had an offer to publish two books.  Then two more and needless to say, she no longer sits next to me in the office doing the administration of work experience for Year 10s, she's busy being wined and dined in fancy restaurants and slaving over a hot laptop on her next best seller.  One of the things she has to do before the publication date is to go through a series of questions that book clubs may discuss.  Now, she'd never been part of a book club, and neither had I so I was of no help to her and she had to ask her publishers what kind of things people may want to know.  It was a bit of an eye opener, and you suddenly realise that readers may put a lot more importance on things that were just chosen on a whim!

So yes, I had considered joining a book club; I love reading, and in fact they started one at the school in which I work.  That would be handy.  I'd know everyone there, it would be hosted in a place I knew, nothing too scary there.  And I was on the verge of saying 'yes, I want to join' when I discovered that the other club members included the head of the English faculty, an ex-teacher of English, the Head's PA and an ex-Deputy Head.  Scary flashbacks of being picked on in class to answer questions on Joseph Conrad's 'Nostromo' came back.  Scary because after a couple of chapters I decided I didn't like the book, so I hadn't read the book, and my only knowledge of it came from a revision booklet I'd found in the library. 

But then I saw Julie and Ruth's blog posts and it seemed an interesting book.  Half written by Jane Austen and finished by 'Another Lady'.  Now, Julie and Ruth don't seem to be the kind of people who would pick on me in class, and unlike Nostromo, it seemed like the kind of book I might enjoy reading and it would be interesting to see if the 'other lady' managed to seamlessly finish the book.  

A quick visit to the internet found that it was possible to find a second hand copy and I ordered one before I had chance to change my mind.  The photo on the web page showed a different cover to that which the others had found but I ordered it just the same, hoping that the ending in that edition would be the same as it was in theirs, so was very surprised when this arrived ...
Exactly the same edition.  You see, some things are just meant to be!

So that's me sorted then.  How about you?  Are you going to join in?  My only problem at the moment is not opening it properly and starting to read before the start date of 1 July.  Not long to go ...

Monday, 19 June 2017

Monday and Me

Old habits die hard.  I'm so used to joining in with Sian's Monday posts that I automatically head for the computer on a Monday, even though she isn't hosting her normal Monday groups for the summer.

My husband should have know that once I had decided to join in with the Scavenger Hunt being organised by Mary-Lou , walks out were likely to be punctuated by random comments being shouted out as I noticed something that needed to be ticked off the list.

Last week, for instance, while walking past the play equipment at our local park, I suddenly shouted out 'Web!'.  I had thought that at this time of year it may be hard to photograph a web, as my plan to take a picture of a large web which had formed on the swing chair in the garden was thwarted, you couldn't actually see it through the lens of a camera unless there was dew or raindrops on it.  Typical.  Just when you need rain, the UK is sweltering in 'hottest day of the year' temperatures!  So I was thrilled to notice that the climbing wall in the park was actually designed around a spider's web.  Another one ticked off the list!

Likewise, a dog walk around nearby farmland resulted in me shouting 'something crafted from wood'!  My husband looked around at all the trees and thought I was perhaps choosing something a bit too obvious.  And then saw me sprinting through the farmer's garden to take a picture of this amazing wood sculpture.

So, thank goodness I have the Scavenger Hunt to take my mind off the fact that it is now less than four weeks to the wedding 😳  Rachel is now back from her hen weekend and there really is nothing to stop her tackling that 'still to do' list.  Which is one and a half A4 pages long apparently.  So much for her saying 'don't stress Mum.  It's all under control'. Clearly it isn't!  I wonder how many things on that list have my name by the side of them ...

Monday, 12 June 2017

It's all in the timing

In an effort to distract us from the chaos that is taking place in our country at the moment, let me share what has to be the luckiest timed photo I have ever taken.  

It was our first night in Croatia and we chose to eat at a seafront restaurant as we thought it would be lovely to see the sun set over the sea.  All the tables along the seafront wall were taken and we had to have a table one row back.  We had noticed that the seagulls were lying in wait along the wall and I mentioned to my husband that maybe we'd had a lucky break as I didn't fancy eating my dinner under the beady eye of a huge seagull.  Add to this, a local cat catching the last few rays of the sun.  This particular bird had been getting closer and closer to the cat and I thought it would make an amusing photo of the two of them staring at the table, both hoping for scraps.  As I held up my phone to take the picture, the gull swooped across the table, grabbed a chunk of fish from a plate and flew off.  In that split second, I took the photo and here he is, greedy gull!

What are the chances of getting the shutter to close just at that moment?  What a lucky shot!

On a different photographic theme, let me share another of my pictures for the Scavenger Hunt being organised by Mary-Lou .  I do hope that you will be joining in too!

Number 23 Something powered by wind

I wish that I could feel that sense of calm relaxation at the moment.  Now we're home I've realised that it's now just 5 weeks to the wedding and there are still things that haven't been done.  As I sit here typing this, my practice largest tier of the wedding cake is baking in the oven and I'm just hoping that the recipe I've found works for this size tin because I don't have much time for more experimenting!  Although the people at work are enjoying being my taste testers every Tuesday, because if I want to fit in my dress, I can't keeping having 'just one more slice' !