Sunday 30 July 2017

Farewell to Sanditon

I've finished it! 
Now, I'm not going to lie.  At the beginning I wasn't sure I was going to like it.  It took me ages to get into the Jane Austen style of writing and at times I found myself quite impatient with her.  So many commas and long winded sentences.

Ironically, the point at which I found myself relaxing into the story and looking forward to the next chapter was at a point in the story where a group of visitors to Sanditon left the resort to visit somewhere else.  As the plot gathered speed and a few twists and turns appeared I felt myself mellowing to the style of writing.  But it may have also been because the 'other lady' had an easier style to her narrative.  I was wondering who she was and a little google research suggests it was Marie Dobbs. Apparently early works by Jane Austen were attributed merely to 'A lady' rather than naming her properly and this is why the actual name of the person finishing the book is kept secret.  Anyway, it's done - all pages read and I'm ready now for any probing questions and homework Julie and Ruth may wish to send my way!  

So the first week of the summer holidays has gone in the blink of an eye.  The days have been full and we're another week closer to wedding number two.  I've sewn all the table runners for this one now and on Saturday Rachel and I went to the UK hen do for people who didn't go to the overseas rave up.  Sophie's mum had found photos of her growing up and we all chose a photo to replicate so the afternoon could be themed as Sophie growing up.  This led to Rachel looking a bit like Britney Spears in the infamous school uniform and me looking scarily like Harry Enfield's character 'Kevin'.  It was a fun afternoon which included having to make a wedding dress out of 4 rolls of toilet paper.  Hopefully, the real thing will be slightly classier 😉 not to mention a little more hardwearing if she should spill anything down it!  

Monday 24 July 2017

The week after the week before

I'm exhausted.  Proper 'just need to sit down for a moment and close my eyes' exhausted.  

What with the emotional lead up to the wedding, followed by the brilliant day itself and then a little house guest coming to stay.  This picture of him sums it up nicely.

R&J weren't going to have a honeymoon, but at the very last minute they wondered if perhaps we may have L for a couple of nights so they could have a 'mini moon'.  But if you're going abroad, it's silly to just go for 2 days isn't it?  And so his reservation was amended to Wednesday to Saturday.  While mummy and daddy were posting Instagram pictures of champagne glasses clinking in classy restaurants in Palma, or views from their sun loungers at exclusive beach resorts, we were sitting at the dining table at home, slightly spattered with chicken casserole and trying to convince a small grandson that he really didn't need to hand any of his dinner over to an optimistic dog who had set up residence by the side of his high chair.

He is a little pocket rocket.  From the moment his eyes open in the morning until they reluctantly close at night, he's on the go - every. single. minute.  At that stage where he desperately wants to walk but doesn't quite have the balance skills but boy is he fast at the 100m coffee table cruise event.  Now, we're not as young as we were and we don't have those same energy supplies so we ended up feeling absolutely exhausted. In a lovely way, but boy did we collapse in the armchair once his mum and dad had come to pick him up!  Swiftly followed by a 'isn't Carluccio's doing a free G&T with every main course this weekend?' last minute table booking for that evening.

All of this is really leading up to me ashamedly admitting that I haven't finished reading Sanditon.  The spirit has been willing, but my tired little eyelids are weak.  I normally read every night before going to sleep but it's just not happened recently.  I have got as far as 'the other lady' taking over the story after Jane dying and I don't know if it's because I've got used to the style of writing or not, but the chapters seem a little easier to read now.  The sentences not quite so convoluted and certainly a lot less commas being used!  There's a fair amount of 'eye candy' appearing on the scene for our heroine to admire although I'm not sure a seaside resort aimed at the injured or infirm is the best place for a young lady to find true love.  

So, one wedding over and a brief interlude before the next one arrives.  This week's task involves making table runners for 13 wedding tables.  I can never say I'm bored can I?

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.