Monthly Archives: October 2006

A day in history

You’ll have seen the link on the main page to recording your blog (UK only) on the Day in History site. You haven’t? Well, go and read it at once. Shame on you.

I thought I’d cop out of doing the same thing twice and simply post the blog here too, though I might make a change or two to it….

“A day steeped in history today. Quite apt, really. Though the dream that woke me in the middle of the night was a bit of a nuisance – starting my day with babysitting my toddler Goddaughter, who is in fact now eleven and probably wouldn’t appreciate my mentioning her at all! I woke just as I was “putting her to bed” and spent the next hour desperately trying to reenter my dream so I could finish the job properly!

The usual rumpus started the day as I bustled my children into school uniforms and out of the door in time to catch the bus to their respective schools before I was able to sit down and relax over a more leisurely breakfast and shower, interspersed with some internet time and one or two household jobs.

Then came a major event – taking my father to visit a day centre with a view to him going there one day a week. It was hard – knowing that he would be reluctant to go, even though he’d enjoy it once he was there – and knowing that it would be like another nail in the coffin reminding him that his remaining time on earth is becoming limited both in length and quality. It was a beautiful place and very welcoming, though as is the nature of these things, full of elderly people. We talked with the lady doing his assessment about some of the ways in which Dad had cared for us as children and that our care for him is only a fragment of that love… but it still felt almost as though we were putting him in a home. One notice board grabbed our attention, though, and I wished my two children were with us to talk with their Grandad about it – a display of ration books, identity cards and posters from the Second World War which brought Dad’s wartime memories flooding back. Even my sister recognised some of the items there from her early childhood, though I of course knew of them only through the history books and through talking to my family.

A pleasant dinner preceded a sad event – a funeral at the local crematorium. My late mother and her best friend from school had remained friends throughout their lives and purely by coincidence had both moved to the Island at the same time too. My mother died about nine years ago… last week her friend’s husband passed away. Today I took my father to the funeral to say goodbye. Fortunately it was a small affair with a very Christian message and so the packet of tissues was less needed than I’d feared. I was able to feel he had come to a fitting end.

The past continued to come back to haunt me as my eldest son brought his new friend from his new school round to meet me. Rather a shock to the system to see a boy I used to teach. I will leave unsaid whether or not it is a companion I would willingly have chosen for my son! Suffice to say they’ll probably get on really well together!

I nipped out to retrieve my youngest son from his pottery class. He had created something most interesting… a piece of “well, you could call it abstract art, mummy”! Indeed I could. I could call it a few other things as well. He was laden down with PE kit, trumpet and school bag and was rather indignant when I said he was not to ask his older brother to come and carry them from the car for him. He’s doing really well with the trumpet. Maybe I’ll follow Shifty Gnome’s example with the voice blogs and get him to play “jingle bells” into the microphone, just so you can share the joy.

And now here I sit in front of the computer… jacket potato eaten, dishwasher loaded, coffee drunk, and the delights of a banana loaf (baked for me by a friend) and a chocolate shoe (don’t ask!) awaiting me before I snuggle down on the sofa and watch Supernanny while rejoicing that my children are not QUITE that bad.

Exotic holidays

You will be pleased to learn (well, I hope you will) that our holiday on the Isle of Wight was a resounding success. You know, it’s a lovely place, highly recommended for a holiday. I was a little unsure whether I had made a very wise decision when I heard the severe weather warnings issued for the weekend, and even less certain when I looked out of the window and saw that Niagara Falls had been relocated to our garden. So armed with mountains of blankets, jumpers, raincoats, board games, books, puzzles and story tapes, we set off into the unknown.

It was a total surprise for the Smudgelets whom I picked up from school. They guessed as soon as I turned into the caravan site carpark. But their disappointment was delightful when I returned from the reception office, got into the car and drove back out onto the main road. OK, OK, so I’d got the wrong caravan park… it’s easy to get lost when you’re far away from home!

Would you believe that on Saturday morning we were sitting on the terrace at a nearby cafe, overlooking the sea, eating icecreams and removing jumpers because we were so hot? It was incredible! We spent the day at Blackgang Chine doing all the bits we don’t usually manage, including the boys going on all the rides several times in quick succession. Wonderful. And on Sunday we stayed on site and made the most of the facilities and children’s clubs there.

The best thing by far, though, was being at nobody’s beck and call and almost managing without a clock too. Lying in each morning with nothing to get up for and no guilty conscience. Allowing the Smudgelets in my room, one each side of me in the tiny bed. (May seem strange to those of you with birth children, but you’re not supposed to allow adopted children in the bedroom, let alone in your bed, and my room is my sanctuary at home as it’s out of bounds to them. A hard thing, though, as one of the most wonderful moments with your child is to curl up together in one warm bed and as an adopted parent I’m not supposed to do it). Making popcorn and huddling under a duvet to eat it while watching Robin Hood on a crackly telly. Giggling as we play with a hover football game together, Curling up to read and read and read or listening to Prince Caspian on CD together without any sense of wasting time or needing to do anything or check on anyone. And NO PHONE!

Only two weeks to go until our next exotic break!

Visitors

You’ll recall that I had a visitor from America for a couple of days about three weeks ago.
You’ll probably also recall that I had a visitor from Australia for a long weekend about two weeks ago.
This weekend I have a visitor from the Cayman Islands, and a very welcome one at that. It’s my nephew. We grew up together, being only 4 years apart in age, and last year you may recall me posting some photos from his wedding. We’ve not seen him since then, but he’s popped in for the weekend “as he was passing”. My delight is almost tangible.

I’m also rather pleased with myself. He’s brought a copy of the wedding video. I was responsible for filming the whole wedding – a last minute offer as they hadn’t thought of arranging for anyone to do it. It was the first time I’d done anything like it. I hadn’t seen the finished result, although several of my family have been raving about it and my nephew and his wife even bought me a book on becoming a professional photographer for Christmas! And though I say so myself as shouldn’t, it really is rather good! I’m delighted, mostly because it was a gift I was able to give them that was worth more than any other. But I have to admit that the thought of doing it professionally is rather appealing.

radiotherapy

Dad had a fantastic trip to Southampton for radiotherapy, and a good week in the hospice.
He comes home today.
I’m so glad he’s so well…. but .. er… couldn’t he have been just a bit poolier while he was in the hospice?

Make your mind up, Tiddles

Typical teenager.

This morning, Tiddles made it perfectly clear to Smudgelet that he was unimpressed with the latter’s inability to do as he was told by the former. It was not on that Smudgelet wandered off and left Tiddles to empty the dishwasher alone.

Five minutes later, Smudgelet goes to apologise and to offer to help Tiddles who was tidying his room ready for the arrival of the Central Heating man to steal all our radiators tomorrow. (Heaven help him, trying to get at the one behind Tiddles’ bed. We all know about the uncharted recesses of behind a boy’s bed!). He asked if he could help and was greeted with “GET OUT OF MY ROOM”!

In the car Tiddles then refused to speak to me or to listen to what I said. Strangely, when it came to stopping outside the school to drop him off, I had a similar bout of deafness……

From one extreme to the other

It’s been a busy couple of weeks.

The weekend before last I had a visitor. A long distance visitor. Just for the weekend. Now while it is perfectly understandable that someone would come all the way from America just to spend the weekend with me and the Smudgelets, I have to admit that she was also visiting several other locations in the UK, not just the Isle of Wight. But a wonderful time was had.

It was a perfect excuse to leave my sister caring for Dad and go out and paint the Island pink. And to have LOTS of meals out.. including one rather scrumptious cream tea at Yarmouth (one of my favourite places… and one of my favourite pastimes!) We managed to visit many places in a short time and cram in an inordinate amount of chatting too. Bliss. The boys were delighted when she gave them a selection of American coins each. (As I pointed out, when anyone said to Smudgelet “Haven’t you any sense?”, he could now reply “Yes, 47!” )

The weekend before last I had a visitor. A long distance visitor. Just for the weekend. Now while it is perfectly understandable that someone would come all the way from Australia just to spend the weekend with me and the Smudgelets, I have to admit that he was also visiting several other locations in the UK, not just the Isle of Wight. But a wonderful time was had. Being a young man of studenty proportions, he was able to thoroughly enjoy being ten again as we took him to Blackgang Chine, the Needles, St Helens, and the family fun swim at the local pool. (I thought point out that “family fun swim” is a considerable oxymoron!) Tiddles was delighted to have the opportunity to teach him to play football – though it is a good job I was wearing coffee coloured trousers when the ball hit my cup and sent it flying in my direction. They were even more coffee coloured then!

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Overlooking the Duver
 Between St Helens and Bembridge Alum Bay - dig those coloured sands