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23
Aug
09

Protected: The future

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03
Jun
09

Feeling sad

Nothing I can talk about here, regrettably- I so badly need an anonymous blog, but my personality won’t allow it!

Two bad days+no net access= a dull girl

Sorry for not blogging or reading other people’s blogs. I have a plan to totally change all of this. I wonder if it will ever see fruition…

😦

15
May
09

Too much bad news spoils the blog

I’ve not had the best week in history. It’s not me or my family- in fact I am kind of guiltily looking around us all and seeing how gorgeous my family are and how WELL they are, and counting my very many blessings.

My dear friend and regular commenter here, Kristi, has had the most horrendous few weeks. She has a beautiful daughter, who I am going to call Princess G here, who is the same age as Ricky (four). They had been thinking that Princess G had mild asthma, but during a routine visit to the pediatrician, he registered some concern over her heart, and referred her to a specialist.

The results of the subsequent tests have been horrifying, and every day it seems to get worse. 😦 Initially, they said that Princess G would need major surgery on her heart to close a hole they found, but now it has become apparent that this precious little girl will need a new heart.

Kristi has been my friend for years now, and seeing pictures of Princess G and hearing about her antics (she has THE biggest personality) has been a constant source of joy to me. To hear that her life is in such terrible danger, and that she faces such horrendous challenges now is unthinkable and devastating to all that know her. There’s also the terrible fact that a child will have to die before she can have a new heart. I can’t get my head around it at all, but it’s all I can think about.

It makes you hold your own children closer when you’re hugging them.

There’s other stuff too, but this is so huge in my mind that everything else seems tiny.

Sending huge love to Kristi and her family as they face this journey.

27
Apr
09

Dinner & Danny Schmidt at Crusoe’s, Castlerock

I’ve just had a lovely weekend staying with my Aunt in Coleraine. I mean, it may be some time before my pickled liver recovers, but it was most definitely worth it!

I had been invited to go with my Aunt to Crusoe’s Cafe in Castlerock for dinner, with the added bonus of music in the form of Danny Schmidt.

Crusoe’s is a new place to me- but came very highly recommended. They are mainly a daytime destination, and I understand that they make the best cappucino in the world! 😀 They run special evening events from time to time, and this was one of those. They provide a gorgeous meal, wine and music. I gather that these evenings are heavily subscribed and eagerly awaited by the population of the North West!

My first impressions of Crusoe’s were of the warmth of the staff. You almost feel like you’ve arrived at a friend’s house for dinner, they are so welcoming. We were seated at a very pleasant table in the corner and brought some wine.

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The room itself has a strong nautical theme, lots of great big windows and a very high beamed ceiling. The room is, however, dominated by the kitchen, which takes up a corner of the room and looks very homely. I really like the notion of being able to watch my food being prepared, and it says a lot about the team that work there that everything seems so calm, efficient and amazingly quiet in there!

Our starter was lovely- fresh, warm bread rolls served with little pots of seafood cocktail, foie gras and a gorgeous tapenade which had both black and green olives in it, as well as sun dried tomatoes. All of this was outstanding, especially the tapenade (which, by the way is something I’m quite fussy about, as it consists of all my favourite ingredients!), and I was excited to see what would come next!

I wasn’t disappointed. We were served with the most delectable venison pie, slowly braised with, I believe, chocolate and chilli in the sauce. I’d never have put chocolate in something like that, but am absolutely intrigued now because the sauce was absolutely out of this world. This was accompanied by perfectly cooked root vegetables and some tasty cauliflower cheese. It was seriously one of the nicest main courses I have had for a while, and I am, as you all know, not all that easy to please! 😀

Pudding (though I was already struggling!!) was a cup of coffee flavoured caramel topped with chocolate sauce, not overpoweringly sweet, which was a good thing, and really delicious. It was served with homemade shortbread which I was devastated not to have enough room for! I should have asked for a doggie bag!

Just when we thought we’d burst, they then brought out a cheese board! They source their cheeses from the Fivemiletown Creamery and they were perfect, but I couldn’t possibly have finished! The cheese was served with delicious home made pickle.

I have to say it was one of the most yummy and satisfying meals I have had in a long time, plus mind blowingly good value for money. If you picked this place up and set it down in Belfast, the queues would be out the door and down the street. If you’re in the region, it’s most definitely worth a visit!

One of the things, however, that really made the evening, was the quality of the live acts who played. Both of them were quite a lot in evidence before they played and seemed like very cool and relaxed guys, so I was able to check if they minded me taking pictures of them for my blog. Kindly, they both agreed! I’m a terrible photographer as regular readers know, so I hope they won’t get too pissed off if they ever happen upon these! I was using Ricky’s camera and couldn’t work out the settings, so poor Al unfortunately got hit with the flash once before I managed to change the settings. Ironically, that was the only photo which really came out… 🙂

First up was Al Brition, who hails from Coventry in England. He had such a sweet, melodious voice that the whole audience was captivated by the end of the first few bars. Simple, soulful music that was perfect with the relaxed atmosphere. I very much enjoyed the subtlety of his guitar playing too. Really beautiful. Inexplicably, I can find no reference to him online at all, and I wonder if I have got the spelling of his name right. If anyone out there can correct me, please do so! 🙂 He is definitely someone to watch!

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Danny Schmidt, hailing from Austin, Texas, was the main act, and he took everyone’s breath away. It’s not just his gorgeous voice and guitar playing, but the lyrics of the songs too. I was particularly moved by his song “This too shall pass”, which he told us was about a time a few years ago when he’d been unwell, and a friend had made him a ring with those words enscribed. From listening to the lyrics of the song, I hope I’m not inferring incorrectly that he must have been suffering from a cancer of some kind back then. Obviously, having been going through my own battle recently, this really touched me and the words will resonate with me for a while to come. Haunting. Other songs had an irreverence which I think unfortunately may have been a little over the heads of some of those present, but I really enjoyed all of it. I will definitely be going to see him again next time he’s in Northern Ireland.

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All of this added up to being a really special night out. The evening was £35 per head including wine- stupendously good value. Thanks so much to my aunt for inviting me, and to both Crusoe’s and the musicians for making it a truly memorable night.

26
Apr
09

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26
Apr
09

Protected: Confusion in the Suzy Camp

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21
Apr
09

The beginning of a beautiful friendship?

My two sons are suddenly developing a real friendship, which I am very much enjoying watch.

Robbie is an amazing talker- he is a total chatterbox and his speech has become very clear, so that pretty much everyone he meets can understand what he’s saying. He won’t be 2 until the end of next month, so I am delighted with how well he’s doing.

He and Ricky have become co-conspirators to quite a scary level! There’s a definite element of hero worship on Robbie’s part, which Ricky is well aware of, and uses. However Robbie, with the increasing verbal skills he has, is now willing to stand up for himself more, which I think is actually having a positive effect on Ricky.

Ricky’s now learning that he can’t always have his own way- something he’s always been very adept at achieving. The way Ricky gets his own way all the time sometimes knocks the breath out of me. The level of persistence he can demonstrate is staggering, and not in an “I want, I want” way until Ian or I “break”- he’s much more subtle than that. You’ll suddenly find that he’s managed to get what he wanted by manipulating a loop-hole in your argument against…he finds a way by using his brain rather than by demanding things. You won’t even realise he’s done it until it’s too late! It can be shocking to witness, even though it amuses me too!

I think he’ll be a politician when he grows up- his personal charm and diplomacy are amazing and he has a knack for saying the right thing at the right time. Maybe he’s already learned the valuable lesson that flattery will get you everywhere! 😀

Robbie’s much more straightforward, in a sense, and gets his way by being charming and sunny. It amazes me how he can be having such a dramatic and influential effect on his older brother’s behaviour!

I hope they’ll always be able to bounce off each other like this and be such close friends. Good brothers and sisters are a valuable commodity. They’ll never have such powerful allies as each other.

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