Friday, 27 February 2015

Le weekend

Cor blimey governor, what a weekend.

It's not often you get to sleep in a four poster bed in a haunted National Trust mansion. Or go to a black tie dinner being served the very best of food with your friends. Or go clay pigeon shooting and horse riding (OK, maybe I do a lot of horse riding). Or have a party with racing car drivers and sailors.

It was a weekend and a half for my bezzie's new husbands 50th birthday. I have 9 years to get organising one anywhere near as decadent or exciting. But after all the opulence, richness and oil paintings whose eyes follow you around the room, memories of the weekend will be of the people and the laughter.

It was inspiring to meet a bunch of folks who do life, who really grab it and run with it - with what seemed like ease. Where the world is their office and the oceans their playground. It was extraordinary to hear stories so very different to my own but have people listen to my tales of the ginger pony, and my children and life on Sussex soil. We stayed up late spinning yarns learning about the heads of a boat and whistling with maps, we giggled about sea-sick labradoodles with plastic tips on their toenails to save the teak deck, we swapped stories of phosphorescence and Africa, false eyelashes and false nails. No subject was unturned, no person unheard and no bottle of booze unopened.

It took until now to recover  - just in time for a new weekend.

Happy Friday one and all x

Friday, 20 February 2015

We're going on a bear hunt

Actually I hope we don't see one, well maybe I wouldn't mind seeing one in the distance but not right up close. Not close enough that I would have to use this advice:

So what to do: There are almost as many theories are there are bears, but here some tips: An aggressive attitude most likely stimulates aggression in the bear. So better don't take chances. Most case studies show that you better don't look him in the eyes, but don't turn around either. So generally facing his direction, you talk normally and walk slowly backwards. Is the bear really aggressive (most likely the case with a she bear with cups) she will charge in a lot of cases up to a meter in front of you. (Mostly without directly attacking) Keep cool.... and talk normal and walk back. If she really attacks, pepper spray might help, but be sure you have the thing pointed in the right direction (if you can find it fast enough) Spray to nose and eyes. But there is no guarantee that the bear will stop in his tracks or avoid you. You still might get kicked or run over. Play dead. You still might expect some aggression after you're "dead" so you should protect vital organs and face. (so lay face down, knees tot the chest and hands in the neck) About all bear incidents stopped at that time. If it's really not your day, try to defend you with all what you have...

This is the advice we have been given for any bears we meet in Romania. You see, we have booked a trekking holiday in Transylvania, with donkeys - he can't wait - walking from farm house to farm house in the Romanian mountains. Where the bears live.

We are going on a bear hunt - we're not scared....

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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Ladybird books


Just look at these book covers - how do they make you feel?

I was transported back to very early childhood and learning to read, and to a time which I had thought I had forgotton. So nostalgic and so very calming, back to a time of endless summer and looking for crickets. To my five year old self whose memories of are very sketchy and have almost completely disappeared.

Ladybird by Design is a beautiful exhibition currently running at the De La Warr Pavillion in Bexhill-on-Sea.

The children loved it. A loved the book 'Shopping with Mother', P loved seeing the 'old-fashioned books', my friend and I loved naming the ones we had owned, the ones we remembered and the ones our sisters coveted. It was a completely delightful afternoon. I might just have to go back.

For one hundred years, Ladybird books have delighted children, their parents, grandparents and teachers alike, taking readers on a journey of discovery and enlightenment. Affordable and accessible, Ladybird books hold a significant and affectionate place in the collective psyche of the nation, conjuring up, through written word and illustration, life in Britain in more innocent times.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Charity shopping

"Why did the man with one hand cross the road?" asked A

I don't know

"To get to the second-hand shop!"

That's a proper good joke that is. I can't walk past a second-hand shop without popping in. I'm not usually expecting to find anything but my well-practised eye can spot a good pattern, some quality wool or a sparkly, bling brooch quite quickly. I have passed my love of the charity shop to my kids where they have soon learnt that their pocket money goes a really, really long way. This weekend we strolled past the Trinity Hospice shop on Wandsworth Common, it had two beautiful whippets peering out of the door, the colour of seals with the velvetiness of moles -  we were enticed in by their kind faces and chocolatey eyes.

And what a treasure trove inside. Rails of designer cast-offs without the prices, jean brands I had only ever heard of in magazines for £10, shoes by Prada and Paul Smith, some red sunglasses so bad they were good and the most enigmatic shop assistant of all. I came out smiling with four items to sip cocktails in, to attend a good garden party and to dance the night away.

Pretty huh? £12 thank you very much

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Poor me

If dry January wasn't bad enough (I'm not doing that again), I have now been prescribed two lots of antibiotics for an infected wisdom tooth. So that's no booze for another five days, and over a weekend too. An x-ray of the tooth showed decay, I could have told the dentist that but I kept quiet willing the hole to close up, which means I have to go to hospital to have it taken out. Shite, pants, bollocks - I've never been to hospital, other than to have a couple of kids, or had a general anaesthetic. It's just the kind of news to cheer you up in the worst month of all. Oh February you beast of a month you.

So here is a list of 10 things I am looking forward to this month now I have the moaning out of the way:

1.  Taking Fletch, the ginger ninja, to an indoor cross country event tomorrow
2.  A's 9th birthday
3.  Starting a new antenatal course - I love meeting new parents-to-be
4.  Seeing my Mum the week after next in Somerset
5.  Flying to Cornwall to a friends 50th party. Decadence.
6.  Trying clay pigeon shooting for the first time
7.  Treating my sister to a lovely birthday weekend
8.  Some real snow
9.  The riding club AGM
10. Being with my children over half term

Happy February everyone!