Archive for the 'Day to day guff' Category

20
Mar
10

Various things

Visiting my much-neglected blog earlier, I felt really sad that I’d let things slide so much. Could it really be so long since I blogged? Life has been insanity recently. There are no hours in the day, for anything, it seems!

So much recent news. My business is great- I’m working so, so hard, but there’s lots of quality time with the kids too, and the rewards are infinitely worth it. I’m earning more than I did when in my old job, for fewer hours, WAY more flexibility, and, best of all, I get to see my kids grow up. On the downside, oh…wait…there isn’t one.

The house still looks like a shit heap, but what am I gonna do. :p

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My pony, Morning, had to be put down, three weeks ago. I haven’t been able to bring myself to write about it yet, and it’s really too painful for words.

I know a few of you will be wondering why I am so upset over the death of a horse- I would say to those people, you’ve clearly never had a very special animal in your life. To my family, animals ARE a part of our family.

Her legs gave up. She was pretty well in herself, but she had been having some mobility issues, and this Friday she just couldn’t get up in her stable. The vet discussed it with us, and we knew it was time to let her go. She was 28- quite old for a horse. I don’t want to go into the process too much. She was too big for an injection. The vet shot her. I knew that this is how it would happen, but it was just awful. I don’t think I’ll ever really get over it.

Morning had been with me since I was eleven years old- a child. We grew up together. We were partners in crime; like minded people. She loved to jump and hated flat work- so did I, though we grudgingly worked at it.

We didn’t know very much about competing when we bought Morning- but through my teenage years, we had huge success in the fields of eventing and showing. She was so beautiful, and so clever. She also could be a complete bitch if her mind wasn’t on the job, or if she felt like taking the piss.

We had a lot of success, and I owe her a lot. I’ll always remember her most for her sense of adventure, though. We’re going to Donegal in a few weeks and the beaches there will be filled with the ghosts of Morning, my Mum and our dog Jamie. May they all be running together somewhere better.

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The kids are gorgeous; I am so, so lucky, even though they make me crazy sometimes. Rob’s speech is spectacular, for a two year old, and he’s hilarious. Ricky is just sooo beautiful, and boy, does he know it!

Here are a few pics, from St Patrick’s Day. We took the drive up the stunning Antrim Coast Road and stopped at Ballintoy Harbour, which has chalk stone on one side and some kind of igneous rock on the other- the world famous Giant’s Causeway is only a few miles down the road and you can see the similarity in the rock formations (finished Suzy, lamely, having forgotten all of her 3rd form geography lessons).

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Nice-

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Nasty-

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You can nearly feel the lava below the surface there!

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They’re pretty good kids. 🙂

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I have a new website, I’ll share it in due course, though most of you know about it already. It’s still in development, but I am very excited about the year that’s to come.

Love to all of my friends out there who have been horrendously neglected recently. I am truly sorry.

22
Dec
09

It never rains but it snows…

We never really get snow here in Northern Ireland, and around 1/2 cm is likely to bring the whole country to a skidding (literally) halt. We’ve had a bit of snow here in the past few days. Not enough for a snow man, but enough for me not to drive anywhere because the roads are too dangerous. Northern Ireland’s mighty army of approximately one gritting lorry has been constantly on the go for days, but let’s face it, he’s only one man!! 😀 He’s doing his wee best. Only kidding, but not too much- we just aren’t equipped to deal. Why would they bother spending money on more resources for snow, when we get maybe 3-5 days of snow every year?

The snow has coincided with Ricky’s school holidays and I am home with both kids for the holidays for the first time. Snow’s obviously great with small kids, but mine are still a little too small to really get much benefit from it- they just freeze too quickly no matter how much you layer them up.

Also, Ballygowan is a small village with few local resources and, despite them installing a new playground which is surprisingly brilliant, there’s only so long you can spend there, and from my point of view, it’s mind numbing. I prefer to go for a walk and do something that will stimulate me as well as them, but what you gonna do!

There’s been a lot of lounging around in jammies in our house these past few days. Ricky’s obsession with playing Lego StarWars on the Wii is getting totally out of hand. We’re going to have to introduce an egg timer of some kind, I think.

Worst of all, Ricky has now got a dodgy stomach and can not be trusted any further than 10 feet from the toilet, so our ability to leave the house is now fully compromised.

So, I guess we should just baton down the hatches and do nothing!

That said, there’s only so much children’s television I can take. One more episode of “Big Cook, Little Cook”, possibly the campest tv show ever invented, and it might just tip me over the edge of reason.

Thank goodness for adult intervention in the form of a dinner invitation to my dear friend Heather’s house tonight. Her sister Emer is in town, and ever time she’s home it is customary for us to treat her like visiting Royalty, mainly by meeting up and (me) getting paralytically drunk. I’ll take some pics, but they’ll be early in the evening before my eye make up has spread itself too far down my face and I am still capable of clicking the “take photo” button instead of the “on/off” button. Tomorrow, with luck, you may laugh at my increasingly dodgy hair do, which without the aid of hair straightners looks like some kind of Granny ‘Fro, and even with straightners, looks awful. Part of the process I guess…

21
Dec
09

Recent news

OK, enough from me in the whining “but this time I really am going to post more often” tone that you’ve all come to loathe, and that I hate myself for later when I break it. Let’s just take it slow and see what happens, ‘kay? 😀

The last number of weeks have been incredibly busy, I’ve hardly had a second to think about anything except for work and family.

Work, by the way, is now officially my ebay business. I left my job as engineering controller for a telecoms company about three weeks ago. It has felt a little like taking a running jump off a cliff and not really knowing if there’s water or solid ground below you for you to land on. I’m absolutely terrified by the fact that it’s not a hobby or an evening’s pastime now- I have to make it work. Signs so far are encouraging though. I’ve just achieved Powerseller status and also gained a Top Rated Seller badge- this was an amazing amount of hard work on my part, and maintaining that badge will be even harder. The standards required are incredibly high and it only takes a couple of assholes for you to lose it. We shall see…however, all is going (touching a whole great chuffin’ FOREST) pretty well on that front.

Me and Robbie have been home alone in the mornings since I left work and it’s been fairly harmonious. I have targetted myself on getting ten listings done per day. He’s quite happy to play in the background while I photograph the clothes and take measurements, and there’s lots of time left for snuggles in between. He is the most gorgeous child (not that I am biased at all) and very easy to live with.

So, that’s my mornings at the moment. Me and Robbie go and collect Ricky at 1.30pm and then we do something fun in the afternoon. It doesn’t have to cost any money- in fact 9 times out of 10 it doesn’t- we go to the park, for a walk or to the museum. I’ve had some really memorable afternoons with them already.

One afternoon in particular (I will curse myself for the rest of my life for forgetting my camera) it was an incredibly still and perfect, clear winter afternoon. I had made a chicken pie the day before and left my Dad in some of the spoils, before taking them to one of the many beaches near his house, at Kilclief Bay on this beach. We spotted seals on the rocks and in the water, examined the rock pools, and, despite the cold temperatures (though it was pretty mild), the kids waddled in the completely flat calm sea in their wellies. Of course, they both ended up totally drenched. It was truly one of those Calvin Klein-ad, perfect, afternoons, and it made me realise that there is NO comparison and that everything I am doing is for the right reasons at the moment. I will never get this chance again, and I don’t ever want to be able to look back at my life and think “what was I doing?” when I think of their childhoods, and my lack of involvement in it.

As you know, Robbie is now 2 1/2, so I’ve already missed years of that time. I’m not taking anything away from mothers who work- I did it myself and never thought anything would change that- I was very settled in my job (until June this year) and had no plans to leave. A variety of circumstances changed that. I think maybe dealing with cancer HAS changed me, and HAS changed my outlook on life and my priorities therein. So whilst all of this has and continues to scare the living shit out of me, the cancer has taught me- in no uncertain terms- to feckin’ well grow a set and live out my life as if every day was my last. I don’t spend nearly so much time these days worrying about what other people think, that’s for sure. Though I do still spend some time worrying about that. Old habits die hard.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’ve become a domestic Goddess since leaving work- that’s not going to happen, I don’t have it in me. However, I am definitely making slow inroads in terms of the house, and the kids have been helping me cook every day, which is both fun and frustrating at the same time. I’m fairly competent in the kitchen and a bit of a Prima Donna, so I am having to learn new levels of patience with them. Their enthusiasm is wonderful, though, and Robbie loves to clean too, so his job is hoovering the living room every day, ha ha! He actually manages to do a fairly good job, mainly because I let him have at it the whole time I am cleaning the kitchen… 😛 Maybe Robbie will be a domestic God. There are too few of those in the world.

I never saw myself as being much good at the stay-at-home and keep house and kids kind of thing, but it’s just “right” for now. Maybe I won’t be good at it. Certainly, doing this is MUCH harder work than my job was. I feel good that I am still bringing some money in whilst I do this.

The whole thing is a massive life change, and while it’s really, really scary, it’s also exhilarating. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. That said, I’m grabbing it with both hands.

02
Nov
09

Where to start, where to start?

Hello, friends. It’s been more than two months since my last confessions… 😀

I actually do **really think** that this time, my blog is back for good.

A lot has happened recently. It’s hard for me to even begin to put it all in a sequence, or to try and make sense of it all. Suffice to say, it’s been nigh on impossible for me to think straight enough to actually blog.

I handed in my notice in work today. I’m not going to go in to detail here, at least for the forseeable future, so if you want to know, email me privately. The company I work for have been wonderful to me, very supportive through my illness, but various circumstances recently have made it impossible for me to continue working there. The decision to leave was very painful for me, but I think essential.

So, this evening, I’m feeling a bit ambivalent, to be honest. My wee ebay business is going from strength to strength- long may it last. It’s going to be paying the bills from now on, and that both excites and terrifies me!

I’m really looking forward to spending more time with my kids. Ricky is absolutely DISGUSTED that he still has to go to primary school while me and Robbie will be at home. I have tried to explain to him why it’s necessary, but I think, although he really enjoys school, he sees it as some kind of punishment!

I’ve just got back from an absolutely wonderful three day trip to London with my Aunt- definitely a post about that coming up in the next few days!

I do have a lot- an awful lot- to write about at the minute. I leave work at the end of November- the whole “blog therapy” thing will no doubt be invaluable to me around then!

Blogging might be a little bit intermittent over the next week or two, and I will have to work hard to get back to speed with those of you whose blogs I read. I cannot begin to tell you how much I have missed all of my blog friends- I hope you might still have a place for me.

Before I go, there are a few people I want to send shouts out to.

Firstly, regular reader Emma C has just had her first baby, a gorgeous wee girl called Kitty! Congratulations Emma!

Secondly, equally regular reader Emma G has announced her second pregnancy! Woohoo! Emma G has been massively supportive to me, and gives the best advice ever. She should seriously consider charging for her services. 😛

Thirdly, can I publicly thank my friend The Taoist Biker for sending me some truly fantabulous CD’s for my car. They are as long and varied as they are enjoyable, and have been on constant play ever since!!

Finally, you might remember that a while ago, my friend Kristi found out that her beautiful daughter Gabriella needed a new heart. Very sadly, Gabriella recently suffered a stroke. She’s making absolutely incredible progress, but the whole family is constantly in my thoughts. If you have a few minutes, head over to Kristi’s website to read the whole story and marvel at this incredible little girl and her strong will to fight back.

More to come in a few days!

23
Aug
09

Trying to get back on the horse!

Hello, hello! How is everyone? Do you even remember me? It’s been nearly two months, I can’t believe it! I’ve actually had a lot to blog about but somehow it hasn’t happened.

We had a lovely holiday- three weeks of not having to think about anything very much and enjoying spending lots of time with my family. It has really helped me make a lot of decisions about where I want life to take me in the next number of years, as some of you know. I’ll do a password protected post on that though! Password will be the same as last time but please don’t feel weird about asking me for it if you’ve forgotten it.

So, until I can come up with something more fascinating, here are a loose collection of tales from our travels. I keep getting grief from my family for not blogging about the kids because apparently it’s the only time they get to hear about silly stuff they’ve done!!

Ricky spent most of the holiday in the sea! Even though the air temperature wasn’t very high, the sea stayed comparatively warm through our whole break (the sea in Donegal could normally cause frostbite even in the middle of summer!) and it was great to see him really gaining confidence in the water. We bought him his first proper wetsuit and he LOVED it!

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It’s fascinating to me how all the kids on the beach are now wearing full body wetsuits- you hardly see any kid in a normal swimsuit at all any more. When we were kids we hardly even bothered to put a swimming costume on- you’d absolutely never see a butt nekkid child on the beach these days. I think it must be a combinating of fashion, protecting children from the sun, and, sadly, loss of innocence!

Ricky has also developed a new interest- kind of a strange one too. When out on a walk at a local Friary, we passed a shrine to Mary. Ricky was fascinated by it and wanted to know what it was for. I explained the principles behind it, and he was very interested. There was a little bench in front of it, and before I knew it, he’d plonked himself down and started doing this!

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Ricky tells me that he is meditating and that this is what they do in China. I was very surprised that, coming from our household which is not very religious, he grasped the concept of spirituality and prayer with incredible ease!

That walk came as a surprise to me, because I don’t believe I’ve ever done it before, and the views were so stunning that I feel compelled to post some pictures of them!

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As for Robbie, he’s my little animal guru- he’s totally mad about animals of all kinds at the moment.

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I think I blogged before about his obsession with horses, and that definitely continued during the break! We were able to send the kids out along the beach on ponies from the riding school across the road, and seriously, if we’d let Robbie stay on for as long as he wanted he’d probably still be sitting there now!

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He had THE best time and I will definitely have to arrange some riding lessons for him I think. Ricky enjoyed it but not to the same extent. I was just showing Robbie the pics from the holiday and he couldn’t stop talking about going out on the pony, and how much fun he’d had!

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We also took the kids to some sheepdog trials, which was actually much more fun than I’d been expecting. The sheepdogs were great, and it was very interesting to see them in action.

They were also showing sheep in a different part of the field. Now, I come from a background of showing ponies and horses, which is very civilised and elegant. Showing sheep involves a lot of men sweating profusely and swearing under their breath as they grapple with a sheep that desparately wants to get back to the herd and that definitely doesn’t want the judge to look at its teeth.

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The variety of sheep was amazing and some of them were as big as a shetland pony, which surprised me! Some were pretty and soft, some were ugly as sin with wiry wool.
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Robbie predictably thought it was absolutely brilliant- the child has no fear! He had fallen and hurt his head the previous evening, which is why he looks like he’s been duffed up!
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The eventual Champion of the sheep was crowned, and I managed to make a total pillock of myself by missing the photo opportunity- then, when I was surreptitiously trying to take a pic, they realised and went through the whole palaver of getting all the trophies and rosettes out again. To be fair they did this with a very good grace, but I felt like an idiot! So, here, for posterity, is a picture of the king of the sheep. Father Ted fans out there will know why I find this vaguely amusing.
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There’s loads more but I have rambled on for long enough! Hope everyone is well. I do want to blog more but time is really against me at the minute. I definitely need to get some stuff off my chest though and will do so later today, with luck!

Now the challenge will be to get caught up with everyone else! 😀

30
Jun
09

Tuesday randomness

I hate that my blog seems to have taken such a complete back seat at the moment! Some of you know that I suddenly find myself with extremely limited net access, which is the most spectacularly large pain in my arse…but that story is for another day.

I’ve had a lot of lovely emails recently from people who wanted to know how I am doing. I really appreciate these, thank you so much! J

I’m doing fine. I have been really trying hard not to think about the cancer at all, and now that I am feeling so much better, it’s been quite easy to do so! However, I got a letter telling me to come for some scans, and went for those yesterday. I felt very nervous about going. Every time I am forced to think about it all, I get that numb feeling in my arms and legs again…isn’t it funny how you can mostly feel fine, but blind terror apparently still lurks behind every corner!

If the tests show anything that looks dodgy, they’ll call me in very quickly. The next few days are going to be rather nerve wracking as I wait to see if the phone rings. They’ve said if all looks well, I’ll just see my consultant in September as planned.

In answer to a few recent questions- I still do not have “the all clear”, I am not in remission or anything like that. I still feel a bit in limbo as I wait to see if they can find any more of it. I’m not really sure how long you have to go with no evidence of disease before they will say you’re in the clear, I think it may be several years. In the meantime, I’m getting on with it! Time waits for no girl!

My business empire is, in the meantime, going really well! I’ve bought three bundles of clothes so far and all of them have sold for a good profit. I have my toe in the water! I have to say that this has been the steepest learning curve of my life- but a really good one. I’ve learned a lot in the past few weeks and continue to learn every day. It’s been a while since I felt challenged like this, and it’s very exciting! So far I have made almost £400 which is not bad for a week or so’s part time work! It will hopefully let me spoil the kids rotten when we go on holiday at the end of next week.

My pony Morning seems to be responding fairly well to the treatment they’ve given her for the sore muscles. We’ll have to wait a couple of days now that the treatment is finished to see how she does without painkillers. I am going down there tomorrow night to see how she’s coping.

Robbie has suddenly developed an obsession with the horses! Carly (my other mare) is retired but still fine for the kids to bounce around on, and she has recently displayed patience which normally results in Canonisation…Robbie will charge down the field yelling “Hello, Ladies!!” at the horses (which is what he hears me say to them) before insisting on riding Carly. She’s very big compared to him, but he’s totally fearless! He just sits on her back with me holding him by the back and leg, and she potters around the field eating grass while he yells “Hurry up, horsie!” at her- he is the cutest thing! When we’re away, I will definitely pay for him to have a ride at the riding school across the way from our holiday house. They have small ponies there which will be much more fun for him.

Ricky is also doing well. He’s now finished at nursery school and can’t wait to go into P1 this September. Leigh’s daughter, and Ricky’s great amigo, Sophie, is going to be in the same class as him, to both their great excitement! Ricky tells me that he will sit beside Sophie in class. He’s also planning on learning to drive as soon as he’s old enough so he can take her out!!! Is it any wonder that Leigh and I practically have our hats bought already!

Actually, Ricky’s daycare had to have a “word” with me, which those of you who are parents will know is never a good thing. Apparently, there was an incident involving Ricky, “Little Ricky”, and a bunch of six year old girls. I have now appraised Ricky of the fact that “Little Ricky” should remain in Knicker Land at all times unless for scheduled appearances…either way, two small girls practically threw themselves at him on his way out of the daycare last night, so clearly they haven’t been left mentally scarred by this incident. If anything, it seems to have increased his popularity! 😀

I am heading out for dinner with my great friends Heather and Jacinta tonight. I think this will let me blow off some much needed steam! The diet has taken something of a bashing this week. I don’t think I’ve gained any weight, but I’m just lucky about that! Still, I am about 15lbs down on where I was six weeks ago, which can’t be bad.

Oh, BTW there is a password protected post in the pipeline in the next few days. I will be using the same password as last time- if you need it, please don’t feel weird about asking!!! 😀

I had a lot of dreams last night about Donegal- we’re planning a holiday there for three weeks next month (YEE-HAAAAAA!!). You probably won’t remember THIS post, but I can’t wait to get to that beach, go in to the water and do exactly what I described in that post. You’ll think I’m insane, but one of the rocks has a smiley face on it- it’s clear as day- and every time I’m in the water there, I look at that rock and can’t help but smile too. That’s my main focus at the moment. Smile, and the world smiles with you. Stick your grumpy frown on, and that’s all you’re ever gonna get back!!

25
May
09

Life’s out of control

When my life gets busy, the blog is unfortunately the first thing that gets pushed aside. I’m hoping to be back on top of it soon!

Where to start? Well, my little guy Robbie turned two last Friday! We took a few days off work to try and get the house into some kind of order before his party on Saturday, but despite much cleaning and sorting, the place still looks like a bomb’s hit it. As soon as I don’t have vast daycare bills to pay every month, I am going to employ the services of a cleaner. This should have the desired effect of making me clean the house before he or she comes to clean. We really are the biggest pigs.

Anyhow, the weather sucked and Ian ended up cooking all the food on the barbeque in the garden whilst everyone crammed into our tiny house. Leigh’s daughter Sophie and my son Ricky disappeared to his room for an absolute AGE, but they are only four and the only evidence of any misdemeanour in there was the discovery of an empty family sized pack of dolly mixture later on. Apparently Ricky picked out all the pink and orange ones for Sophie. I can only assume that he ate all the rest of them himself.

It cheered up later on and the kids were able to play outside. My Dad had bought Robbie a swing set for his birthday, Ian’s Mum bought a sand pit which can double as a paddling pool, and we bought a slide. The garden is WELL kitted out now and the kids are ecstatic! It has the added bonus of not being inside our stuffed-to-bursting house too!

Robbie really enjoyed his party and I think he had a good birthday. I will post some pics soon but I’m in work and the pics are on Ian’s laptop. I’m only going to post pics of my own family here, but for anyone who’s interested and knows me, there’s lots more on facebook.

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My weight has got to the stage where Something Had To Be Done. My neighbour Lynn and her sister Jean have been doing Slimming World’s plan for the past year and have lost eleven stone (that’s 154lb) between them in that time!!!

I felt a bit weird about signing up but I have clearly proved in the past that I can’t do this on my own. I can generally lose about 2-2 1/2 stone (28-35lb or so) working alone, but then I have this awful tendency to start thinking “hey, I don’t look as bad any more!” after which I put it all back on again.

SO- I went Thursday two weeks ago for my first meeting. And it’s going very well!

I had my first repeat weigh in on Thursday last and had already lost 6 1/2lb, but I have to confess that I cheated a bit. On my weigh in on the first night, I wore heavy trousers and left my shoes on. This time, I wore lightweight linen trousers and took my shoes off. Shoot me now. 😛

I make it a loss of 4 1/2 lb or so- but for ten day’s work, bearing in mind I went for dinner with Heather and Jacinta one of the nights and had Robbie’s party in between- I am still pleased with that and will keep going.

There’s an element of competition in it that is good for me too. Those of you who kn0w me in real life know that I have a competitive streak a mile wide. Each week everyone brings a healthy food item with them (I brought a pack of wild rice) and it all goes in a big bag. Whoever has lost the most weight that week gets the bag and all the goodies in it. It’s a good incentive!

So I have a massive amount of weight to lose, but feel good that I have made a proper start now, after months of procrastination. I’m not telling you my weight now, but maybe I will if (WHEN!! 😀 ) I ever get down to where I want to be. 🙂

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Leigh and I are completing the Race for Life  this weekend. So, here’s another shameless plug for sponsorship! You can sponsor me at THIS page securely. Thanks to everyone who has already done so- it’s a fabulous cause.

We haven’t been as good with the training as we planned, so it’s going to be more of a fast walk than a run for me and Leigh, I suspect! That bloody hill at Stormont kills us every time we walk up it- running is out of the question, well, maybe DOWN the hill but I can’t see me running up it. Leigh is a nurse, so she can resuscitate me if necessary. I hope. 😛

Looking forward to it anyway! 🙂

ANYHOW- I hope to be back in the blogoshpere properly now as the hecticness in work seems to be calming slightly. I guess it’s pretty bad to be putting my lack of blogging down to being busy in work- I really should be working now!! It’s a bank holiday here but my company is still in. Ian and the kids are away to the open farm, and I wish I was with them!!

Hope my Stateside friends are all enjoying their Memorial Day weekend! 🙂

That’s all for now- this was a long post! If you read it all, you get the prize! 😛




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