Archive for the 'Pictures' 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. πŸ™‚

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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.

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! πŸ˜€

01
Jun
09

Race for Life 2009

Well, it’s done, and we had a great time!

Leigh and I completed the Race for Life at Stormont Estate yesterday. It was a very warm day without a cloud in the sky, which was great in one sense but I think we could actually have done with a bit of drizzle by the end! Next year we should bring water pistols!! πŸ˜€

When I got to the site and realised the sheer scale of the event, it was a bit of a surprise. I knew it would be well attended but there was just a sea of pink everywhere you looked. You have to pin a sign on your back saying who you are running for. I have to say, this aspect of it was very moving- the people standing next to me as I waited to meet up with Leigh were running for a little girl with leukemia, and nearly everyone’s shirts mentioned someone close to them. The scale of the effect cancer has on society is really impressed on you and it would be a stony heart indeed not to be moved by seeing those shirts.

Leigh and I met up about an hour before kickoff. An Australian lady was giving a bit of an irksome pep talk over the loudspeaker. I kind of wished they’d gone for someone Northern Irish, she seemed rather out of place, but she seemed to be enjoying herself!!

Next, a Scottish lady who was one of the main organisers came on to the stage and she really was inspirational. She reminded us all of why we were there, but in a fun way.

Just before we set off, we had a warm up in the shape of an aerobics instructor who reinforced my belief that I can never take part in an aerobics class due to my slow wittedness and inability to follow basic instructions. My lack of coordination will probably appear sometime soon on YouTube, courtesy of another participant! πŸ˜›

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The route itself went all round the Stormont Estate. Regular readers will know that Leigh and I have struggled a bit with the dreaded Stormont hill- which is bloody steep! You find yourself fixated on the sight of the Carson Statue at the top, because he’s right at the top of the hill! πŸ˜€

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I have to say, I think we kicked that hill’s ass yesterday. We veritably strode up it and I was only a little bit puce in the face by the top. In the past we’ve both practically needed a lie down when we got to Lord Carson!

My Dad and regular commenter Bernadette had walked up the hill to try and see us on our way past, but somehow in the crowd we didn’t spot each other, which was a shame. Next year we should plan things better!

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I think everyone felt a real sense of achievement at the end. This is such a good cause- to date I have raised almost Β£800 for Cancer Research UK and hope to get close to Β£1000 by the time I am finished. You can still sponsor me online if you have a few pennies to spare.

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I feel very privileged to have taken part. I am also very lucky to have been well enough. The past year has been rough, but I am still here, fighting fit and taking no prisoners! Next month marks the anniversary of my diagnosis, and it seems amazing that it’s been so long.

And Leigh, we WILL run it next year!!!! πŸ˜€

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26
Apr
09

From the journey home…

I had a gorgeous weekend with my Aunt, and have a post ready to go for tomorrow about our evening out, which was fantastic! I just need to finalise a permission or two and it will be good to go! πŸ™‚

I got a mixture of bus and train home today. I sat at the top of the double decker bus, and the view was wonderful though the day was cloudy. We were diverted up this little back road, though, and to say it was bumpy was the understatement of the year! That road was not designed to take a bus!!

The mountain you can see in the distance is Slemish, where St Patrick allegedly tended sheep in his formative years-

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On the train, coming into Belfast- the Cave Hill is in the background (can you guess why it has it’s name? Someone must have spent YEARS naming that place. So original. πŸ˜› )

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Belfast is really a city on the up- as you can see from all the construction that’s taking place. The city is almost unrecognisable from fifteen or twenty years ago, when pretty much none of the buildings you can see here existed. Lagan Weir is in the foreground.

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More building work! You can see the Albert Clock on the right hand side, which dominated the area when I was a child, and was a local hang out for hookers… πŸ˜€ It now looks so tiny, but it’s about the only non modern construction you can see, as it dates back to Victorian times and is named for Queen Victoria’s husband.

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Could this post BE any more random?!

Better things to come during the week, I promise! πŸ™‚

20
Apr
09

Inishowen Peninsula at Easter

My plan for today is to completely fob you all off with some scenery pics- these are from the Inishowen Peninsula and were taken a week ago today, on Ian and my anniversary. It is so gorgeous up there!

We had a lovely anniversary. The forecast for the area of Donegal we were staying in wasn’t too great, so we decided to head east along the North coast to Inishowen. It’s the most northerly point in Ireland. As you can see, the weather wasn’t perfect, but we were really lucky and the rain mostly stayed off.

We stopped for lunch near Malin at a pub, which overlooked the harbour, and despite it being very, very windy, they were having a bungee jumping event, hoisting the victims, sorry, participants up a crane in a cage and then pushing them out- I couldn’t believe how close they were bouncing to the crane! We were too far away to get pictures, but it was a bit insane!

We went for a walk on a beach nearby but it really did start to rain then!

It was still a lovely day out. I don’t really know Inishowen too well, so it was great to see a part of Ireland I haven’t been round much before.

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28
Mar
09

Suzy through the ages

I thought the following might make some of you giggle! Here are some pics of me growing up. πŸ™‚

On the beach in Donegal, aged about 18 months

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Aged just under two- same as Robbie is now, and the similarity is absolutely scary!!

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About two, in the garden of my grandparents house. My friend Emer once saw this picture and laughingly said I looked like I was modelling the clothes! πŸ˜€

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I’d guess about six or so? In the garden of the house I grew up in.

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Roughly nine or ten- this was for the fancy dress party at the riding school I went to. The pony was called Tizer, and although he looks as rough as a badger’s arse in this photo, was subsequently sold, cleaned up and became a very successful working hunter. πŸ™‚ My best friend Jo loved him so much that she was even nicknamed Tizer when we were in primary school! πŸ˜€ I look like a tiny medieval hooker…so much makeup!

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Around twelve, again on the beach in Donegal. My tan proves that even in Ireland we sometimes get good weather! πŸ˜‰ My eyebrows are inexplicable. Sorry, that should read my monobrow is inexplicable…

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Fourteen, with the biggest hair in history and it was NOT a perm, no matter what my brothers tell you!!!

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Twenty- on holiday in The Burren, Co. Clare with my Mum.

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OK, I hope you’ve had a good laugh from that…have a lovely weekend! πŸ™‚

26
Mar
09

From a recent seaside trip

Sorry for the influx of photos- I haven’t posted any for a while and thought it would be a nice change from me whining about my health! πŸ˜€

We recently went to Ian’s Mum for lunch. She lives in a small seaside town called Donaghadee, which has wonderful views across to Scotland, and a pretty harbour. Her house is right on the sea front, with incredible views. I’d never get anything done if I lived there. I’d probably fade away sitting in a chair looking out at the sea and watching it change constantly.

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We always like to take a walk out to the lighthouse on the harbour after lunch- it’s not a long walk for the kids, but it’s very pleasant.

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The weather was kind of stormy that day- very sharp showers and windy- we just got back to Phyllis’ house before it started chucking it down so we were very lucky! She lives in one of the houses you can see in the background- this was taken at the end of the harbour looking back.

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A few shameless pics of my handsome boys-

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Ricky and Phyllis-

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Life is good!

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