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Sunday, 2 December 2012

Labour Wards & rug rats

It's been a bit of a busy month so thought I would catch up on what's been happening

The day before bonfire night my eldest daughter went into labour, pretty scary.  Not the thought of her going into labour, but the fact I was going to be a grannynannyoldfekker

She had asked previously if I wanted to know when she started in labour so of course I said let me know.  She started 6am in the morning and I got the 6 text messages and 3 missed calls on my phone when I got up at 9am (I'm not great at answering my mobile, and the majority of time it spends its life on the car dashboard)

So 6pm I was summoned as things were moving pretty rapidly.

Her OH (Andrew) phoned the hospital and we all traipsed to the labour wards

I loitered and offered to wait outside but found myself in the labour ward for the duration (Im not sure birthing partners and stuff was ever mentioned but it now seemed I was here for the premier performance)

Her original 'plan' was birthing pools, soft dolphin music and a painfree idyllic birth.  5 hours into it she demanded 'all the f*&kin drugs you can give me' and the birthing pool remained bone dry throughout.  Had Homer been her birthing partner choice he would have been devestated, he's never one to miss the chance of a paddle

Around 10pm she was checked and gutted to find out she was the perfect size to give birth to a small ferret, but a human creature was going to be in there for a while yet.

So she opted to stay on the ward for the night with her OH and I went back to their flat for a few hours sleep.  They had omitted to mention the flat had no heating on and was bloody freezing, so after sleeping in my jeans, jacket, 3 pairs of socks and andrews underpants I gave up and went back to the hospital first thing

Expecting her to be a wreck she was amazingly bright and cheery and said so happily 'They stopped!!! Haven't had one for ages!!'
I did try and mention the fact that unfortunately if they had stopped, they actually had to be restarted or Rocket Banger would never come out (for privacy sake I feel her real name should not be mentioned - but the real reason is I cant get my head round calling her by a human name. So she is 'rocket banger' as she was coming on firework night)

Happy interlude in the labour ward....I have no idea why any woman would want to do her gym exercises on the ball at a time like this

So back to the labour wards and a drip was hooked up to start the contractions again. A couple of hours of this and I was impressed with the number of swear words in my daughters vocabularly - I thought I knew some good ones

So she had the pethidine, the gas and air and finally said GIVE ME AN EPIDURAL NOW!!  So Mr Pincushion came and set it all up for what was supposed to be a pain free experience. 2 contractions later and it seemed the epidural was bloody useless. 

Nurses changed shifts again (I think we met them all) and we were given a gormless replacement who looked about 9 years old.  She played in all the cupboards for a while and just had an inane grin on her face.  My daughter wanted to kill her.

Thankfully the nurse from the last shift popped in and things seemed to be moving rapidly. So Andrew and I stood either side of her, being strong and giving her the re-assurance she needed.  When she declared in tears 'I can't do this anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!'.. Andrew cried. I cried. What a team....

And so offering the words of support that you need at this time, not the 'this is the most amazing thing in the world and you will forget this as soon as you hold her and will look back on this amazing experience'....I told her 'to push like you are shitting a football!!!'

A few bloody curdling screams (apologies to anyone in MK labour wards on Bonfire night she wasn't being murdered and yes they are real words in the 'urban dictionary') and I gave her the brilliant news...'She isn't ginger!!!'

Rocket banger finally popped in to the world to a load of weeping adults singing at the top of their voices... 'Baby your a firework!!!!!!!!!!!!!' 

Camera out straight away...I think she was unattached by now..!

Bloody amazing, wouldn't have missed it for the world.  You don't get this on Orange Wednesday

And so the last few weeks have been spent visiting the daughter, driving to Plymouth to see the other daughter, knitting (yes yes I am the classic grandmanannytweedwearingpisssmelling parent now) and life generally revolving around Rocket

Obviously I'm not knitting pink delights of girlyness, I think everything i have made/bought so far revolves around the gruffalo

Just as well the daughter is on the same girlyness level as me. Unfortunately due to well meaning and generous friends/relatives she already has a wardrobe of clothing with every adaptation on the word 'Princess' you can imagine, pink sequins, sparkles and feather boas, and a few kitten prints.  However Rocket is unlikely to be seen in anything that isn't
1. Furry like a small animal
2. Stripy
3. Non Girly

Barley is particularly impressed. Homer is a bloody nightmare. Nothing surprising there then.

Happily she is the most miserable little baby I have ever met. She hates everything. Baths, nappys, getting dressed, getting undressed, waking up....  Her only glimmer of approval is when a bottle is stuffed in her face or she is asleep.  Pretty easy to bond with at the moment, I like her dissaproval of the world in general.  Just got to hope I dont notice the transformation into a smiling bratty brat...

So camping is now taking a back burner (well actually I went to Hopleys last week).  Well maybe not much of a backburner to be honest I am off to Banbury next week. But I'll perhaps take my knitting...

Friday, 30 November 2012

Back to Hopleys..

Another year gone and another trip back to Hopleys

A few weeks ago Glynnis one of our original Hopleys crew passed away so there was a void where she should have been, but I'm sure she was watching down on us with her pink dressing gown and full slap on

We all arrived throughout Friday, each testing the grass to find the least muddy pitch (there wasn't one)

Parked up Tillie and robbed a couple of EHU's, then got pitched up to the accompaniment of Homers howling and yodelling for a few hours

Tent was soon set up, electric blanket on the bed and an hour spent setting up the TV ready for I'm a Celebrity (proper hard core winter camper me)

Friday night we took over Annes pitch and sampled the delights of Marmite, nutella and peanut butter toasted sandwiches - very nice (although the bottle of sloe gin I had sunk by then may have had some influence on my radical thinking).  The usual talk around the campfire - mainly about Intents penchant for buying electrical equipment and testing its staying power under the wheels of her Citreon Nemo.  So far she has managed to demolish a Nintendo DS, a Kindle, and I think a dishwasher, although this memory may also be clouded by the vast amount of gin I drank.
It was never established why Intents leaves these items on the driveway and can only think it is Intents little survey to see how good customer service is on replacing these items.  She leads a quiet life of solitude in Swansea at the moment so a bit of human chatter with Consumer departments probably brightens the day

It was a bloody cold night so was glad of the electric blanket

Bumping into Flogs in the morning, he was wearing a rather fetching pink towelling dressing gown in honour of Glynnis (well that was his excuse but he looked far too at home in it)...

We then decided to go to Go Ape.  Checked the website and it was fully booked with no availability. Never one to be easily put off we drove there and checked, and were promptly booked in for an hour later.  So armed with no gloves, no waterproofs and contact lenses that blurred everything we were suitably equipped for swinging through the trees

Intents was the star of the day, forget Twycross Zoos performing Chimps, they are not a patch on watching Intents navigate the zip lines and ladders of Bewdleys forests

Intents in action

The landings didn't quite go to plan...

Back to the campsite for a brief siesta then we all gathered in the mess tent which Tina had kindly brought along.  More alcohol and a spread fit for a king... (ok have drank more gin by then) I wimped out pretty early.  Decided to take the dogs to the 'family room' to try and wash off some of the mud they had managed to cover themselves with (and also the crumbs off Homer who had managed to negotiate half a cappucino sponge cake with one swift thieving snatch off the buffet table).  Then spent twice as long trying to clean the family room of mud.  I gave up after I ended up wetter and muddier than the dogs

Snuggled with 'celeb', a book, a can of cider in my cosy little canvas home

The rain tipped down all night and the wind built up a bit. Well a lot evidently, resulting in poor Margos Bell tent being ripped where the porch fell down, and also the mess tent lived up to its name once the poles collapsed. 

Ann had managed to keep her nice cream canvas tarp scrupulously up until the point it all caved into  a heap on the floor where the ingenious tennis ball pole had stopped being so ingenious.
Intents was baling out water for a while but gave up

Is amazing we never question why we do these bloody ridiculous camps all year round

So we cleared up Armageddon and all drove off to our little corners of the UK.  Tina stayed another night after the long drive up from the IOW.  She also had the company of her personal AA man the next day, who was called in to repair water pumps this time

Friday, 12 October 2012

Home and back to the gym

Northumberland is now a distant memory (never did get round to finishing it off, will have to do that soon)

And so the battle of the bulge is back on

With fairy costumes looming next May I have stupidly signed up for a 10k run at Althorp, Northants in February (the time of year when there is usually about 3ft of snow)  If you go to the link dont be impressed by the duathlon biking and stuff, i'm not cycling anywhere

I have also gone back timidly to the gym

Having spent the last few weeks learning how to breath without collapsing I am now upping the pace a bit

I have gone mad at Aldi and splurged on a running jacket, jogging bottoms and socks.  So now I can join the rest of the black and lime green joggers all over coventry in the cold months

Being a newbie at the gym, I am usually attacked by all the ugly personal trainers as being an easy target. Spot the overweight middle aged woman in the new training shoes and it's easy money.  So pre empting this tonight I thought I would go and check out what the fuss was about these personal trainers. But on my conditions

Gazing round the gym I locked onto a rather tasty young dark haired trainer.  Then I moved in for the kill.  He was actually with a customer so after a quick conversation and he said he would be over in 5 minutes if I wanted to start my warm up.

Over to the treadmill and I started my 'warm up'.  Which actually is my whole routine. 30 mins jogging, a few fairy weights and a couple of sit ups using the bendy sit up thing

He left me for about 10 mins (not good as obviously beetroot red now) and I was rudely distrurbed in the chorus of 'dont marry her f*%k meeeeeeee!' (a beautiful south song on my ipod)

Pretending that I could actually breathe and talk at the same time, he asked me what I wanted to achieve blah blah blah and I managed to hold a stilted conversation .  So gave him the overall idea, said I wasn't sure of a few machines, in particular the stomach cruncher one which just strained my arms and never seemed to affect my stomach

He has signed me up for a free taster session on Tuesday evening at 7:30pm, and I could book from 30 mins or up to 10 x 1hr sessions (unlikely they are bloody expensive) if I wanted to afterwards

He left the gym so I could now go back to grunting and gasping loudly for the next 20 mins

Did a few of the weight machines then headed for the stomach cruncher. Again had no idea and just sort of rolled back and forth on it like someone in foetal position in a mental insitution

Horrified to look up and see he is looming in front of me.

'You have far too much weight on it'
'Yes probably'
'..and you are holding the straps too far down..'
'I did say it hurt my arms'
'....and you need to go 5 times as slow and roll it right back...'
'Yes yes well I did say I hadn't got a clue on this machine' (he is fekkin annoying me already)
'Now try it'
'I can't feel anything'
'Do it slower'
'Still cant feel anything really'
'OK put the weight back on then'
'Yes can feel it now'  (mwwaahhhhaaaahhhaaa round 1 to me I think)

So he gives me the card with the appointment on....roll on Tuesday....

Friday, 5 October 2012

Trains, planes (err boats then) , buses and automobiles


Started the day with a short drive to Low Hauxley and Druridge beach to walk the mutts.  Another gorgeous morning (haven't a clue why the weather has been sunny all week, forecast before we came away was heavy rain and general crud all week as usual)

At one point it looked like we were going to be invaded by a fleet of Spaniards....

Homers legs appear to be ok this morning...

Did a google for Low Hauxley to add a link but found this one about a woman and a poisonous Weever fish, which was much more interesting than the pretty scenic write ups....Will avoid any fish who start setting up a loom and getting the wool out...

Drove a bit further as I saw a sign for a farmshop - stopped and stocked up on some yummy chocolate brownie cake (low cal and the same nutritional calorific content as a ryvita obviously)

Back to the cottage, dragged Steve out of bed, and piled in the car and a drive back up Etal.  The dogs got another treat in a different form of transport.  Arrived at Heatherslaw Mill a bit early (well 2:30pm) so although we were pushing it visiting the mill, we opted to go in the cafe instead and eat the scones and cake made from the lovely flour, rather than watch the process itself.  We were served by a nice lady with one arm, so it took twice as long for us to get all our snacks (she reminded me of the Irish washer up in Robins Nest)

Sauntered over to the station and waited for Thomas the Tank Engine.....

All piled on and Homer has his happy head on again when he realises there is no walking involved.  Barley debates whether to shake and tremble the entire journey, but decides against it once she realises we have bought cake with us

The entire round trip for the train is 6.4km and at a speed of walking backwards we arrived at Etal in about 30 mins.  As this was the last train we didn't get chance to explore yet another ruin (its all bloody fortresses and castles up here, these Scots dont like the English much)

Back to the station.  It was very nice of the train driver to come over and give them both a pat on the head. Can't help thinking looking at this pic though that we look like some weird deprived family who were unable to have kids and took our dogs out to Butlins yearly

The next place on the agenda isn't widely advertised as a tourist attraction so we had to find a small semi detached house in the middle of nowhere.  We were looking for the 'Concrete Menagerie' - a garden full of concrete animals. They were constructed by a father for his son, who on finding out he was born disabled and would be unable to see many things, brought as much of the world as he could to him.  It was all a bit strange really, but this sort of thing amuses me...

He reminded me of Steve when he's wearing his glasses


Nice teeth...

OK, so they aren't the most life like of statues....
(can imagine the poor child trying to escape from them in his wheelchair)
Floddon Field is just down the road, but as it involved walking some distance to see anything but a grass field, we didn't bother
Drove back yet again through Alnwick and came in from the castle end...

My search this time was for the lion bridge to find the lion with the straight tail...
Found him!!!
Finished the day with yet another walk along the dunes and beach.....


Thursday, 4 October 2012

Leaving the mainland..more Northumberland

Scotland revisted..briefly

After watching the woman in black dvd yesterday, about a nutso ghost living in a house at the end of a tidal causeway, what better idea could we have today than to go off and drive to the island at the end of a tidal causeway….

We decided to go to Holy Island, Lindisfarne today.  I thought perhaps that I could Homer exorcised, but evidently they don’t offer this facility.  It’s very similar to going to Shell Island in Wales, but the inhabitants tend to grow veg and brew stuff, rather than bbq burgers and drink gallons until the early hours.

Instead we decided to go for a walk up to the castle with the mutts. Homers joints are garbage so he had lost the will by the time we got there.  However I have never seen him so happy than when we jumped onto the castle shuttle bus and he got a nice lift back to the carpark
Take me home Mr Driver!

We then went off and had a nose at the priory and the wine shop, and a shop that sold the best fudge ever

Moving on we were originally going to go to Berwick on Tweed, but decided to go a bit further and cross the border into foreign lands (Scotland).  So after 49 years of never being there, I have now found myself there twice in the last 6 months

Drove round for about an hour looking for somewhere to eat – went of the beaten track a few times and other than finding Steven King type battered pubs we gave up

Travelled back via the Preston Tower . 

It kept the child busy for half hour.....

But it wasn’t from some deep historical thirst for knowledge I wanted to visit, but I had read that the owners had a cemetery in the garden for all their dead Labradors L

Played in the tower for a while then went off mooching for the woofers graves.  Found them at the bottom of the garden, so deepest respect to Angus, Barney, Sar, Pie & Hugo
Another visit to the castle on the way back

Stopped off on the way home for a meal at the Wellwood in Amble – was v nice, would recommend the moules marniere......So the diet is going steadily down the pan...

Only 2 days left and no plans for these really...

Day..err...dunno...lost count

Set off and had a quick nose at Warkworth castle on the way to Alnwick – took a few pics but hoping to return to do the audio tour later in the week.  The dogs are allowed in, but not sure the stone will stand up to Homer peeing at it every opportunity he gets

Next stop today was back to Alnwick to Barter Books.  This time it was open, so we managed to have a good nosey about.  Amongst the high brow scholars of the shop I think we fitted in nicely.

Loved the train that runs along the top of the book shelves, and there are quotes everywhere, the whole building is very charming – complete with buffet car tea room and cosy coffee corners. Even let dogs in (no I didn’t bring mine in, anywhere that leaves biscuits on display within reach of Homers nose is a no go area)
Although there was a moment in the children’s section when Steve decided to sit on the ladybird, much to the disgust of the sales assistant who happened to walk by at the same time

Suitable chastised he settled down and did some more serious reading
Bit of information, Barter books is to blame for the revival of all the ‘Carry on and keep calm’ branding.  Evidently some old posters were found in one of the boxes of books here and it catapulted into ridiculous heights of mass produced ‘keep calm and do bloody everything’

We then visited the antique shop next door, putting on our serious collectors heads we mooched in here for about 20 mins.  As we left the elderly sales assistant said to us ‘Next time you visit we’ll see if we can find some bowlers in your size?’  Not having a clue what she was talking about, other than Steve had shown some interest when we first walked in, Steve enlightened me with this photograph he had taken, where he obviously had an audience….

Time to visit the Treehouse restaurant next.  As we were booked in we managed to evade car parking charges, although I’m not sure the attendant was convinced we had booked.  We were a bit early so had a play and a mooch round the restaurant.  There were quite a few elderly people who were a bit unsure about the rope bridges, I’m sure Steve did nothing to alleviate their fears…

Outside the restaurant there is also a private hut that can be booked for meals, plus the ‘Potting Shed’, a bar

Went in and got seated in enormous heavy wood seats.  Had a meal of goat and asparagus salad, fish and chips, and finished with double chocolate and baileys torte with caramel cream. Was yummmmmmmm and so crap on my diet L

Loved it here, so we booked for dinner on our last night to save clearing up the kitchen etc (that’s my excuse anyway) Also I want to see it lit up at night


Back to the dogs and Steve and Homer practised their skating on ice routine...
Perfect co-ordination...

Working nicely together now

 Then Homer went off freestyling... 
Went for a walk round Alnwick afterwards, not much but a few shops but got some entertainment watching the fire brigade putting out a Citroen


Went home and watched a DVD, the woman in black.  Not the greatest of Daniel Radcliffe fans tbh, the film was ok but nothing special.  Perhaps I should watch equus where he has his knob hanging out; he might appeal more to me then….

Also now have the ritual of blocking Homer out of the cupboard after he discovered there is a football sitting in there, which he keeps swiping every time he gets the opportunity (unless it's a cunning plan and he is really after the gin)
Carried Homer up the stairs and another day gone…..

CRAFTY POST - My revolting conservatory-camping-store-room, really needed a makeover....

Finished!  So I get asked, where do I store all my camping kit? The answer is