Sunday, 29 September 2013

Let's go on The Matthew

 I warn you I am going to be talking about my birthday treat.
We went on the Matthew! you know, don't you? the replica of the ship built by the Bristol Merchants and sailed across the Atlantic in 1497 by John Cabot. Now I'll bore your ears off with the details.

In 1495 John Cabot a merchant in Bristol managed to get finance to build a ship that would sail west across the oceans and discover a new way to the orient and the spices that were so eagerly sought. In 1497 he took 107 other people with him and a ship full of chickens and goats and off they went. After 55 days they bumped into land and they decided to call it Newfoundland.
Fast forward to 1994 when a trust was set up to build a replica and sail it across the Atlantic for the 500th anniversary.

We went for the day with Mrs Bluefunnel. Please note the badges we are wearing because they were made specially by Mrs B. Hers simply says Mrs Bluefunnel which to anyone else is not funny but to us is hilarious - oh and she was thought to be a tour guide because of it and got asked questions while holding the door for Miss Em in the Ladies loo.

The Divine Miss Em with a mouth full of Werther's Original and a badge that says Heiress. This is because Admiral Cunard Bluefunnel has said, in front of witnesses, that when his ships (please note the use of the plural here) come in, Miss Em is the Heiress.

Mr M was and is the Navigator. He has this uncanny ability to look at a map and then put it away and still have it in his head. This is why we never get lost we only ever mislay a turning and get ...distracted.
Admiral Bluefunnel had his badge hidden under a pocket flap because he thought he should be in disguise as this wasn't one of "his" ships. He thought he might be asked to drive it, he said, and was relieved when he was told that the River Pilot would be on board so he didn't have to worry.
Even the wet weather didn't spoil our day, in fact the colourful umbrellas were very pretty. Miss Em sat happily under one while muching on her apple, her biscuits, her werthers and other snack like comestibles. She was extremely careful about litter and made sure she put everything in the bin without EVER being asked or told. She is a joy to take out and as Mrs Bluefunnel said at one point "I had forgotten how much fun it is to wind up small kids" This was after they had terrified her by saying that her seat was up in the Crow's nest and then when she Miss Em said she thought a drop of rain had fallen on her Mrs B told her that it was bird wee! When she realised they were teasing she didn't get upset or sulky but after that everything they said was thought about and quietly verified with Grandpa before being believed.
She saw and photographed herons, lapwings and a deer that she spotted on the bank. She also looked at lots and lots of joggers and agreed with what Wicked Uncle Cliff had told us last year, that you never see a happy jogger. She would peer at them on the bank, running through the trees and then look at me and say "no Grandma, he didn't look happy." After our fabulous trip we went to Smiley's Fish and Chip Shop in Bedminster and had fantastic fish and chips and talked about the fact that any of the people in the street could be related to Mr M and we wouldn't know, because this is where his ancestors came from.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Family Portraits Two

I was looking for something, a picture of my Uncle and aunt when they came over from Canada. I haven't found it yet but I did unearth these pictures of my children in Primary school.

 Now they are not sitting in age order because my youngest son inherited all the tall genes and was a good three inches taller than his brother when this one was taken in 1975 so the ages go from left to right 8, 7, 10.
They all look very blond and I am still taken by how beautiful they are - a mother's eye.

This is a year later. My daughter had decided that because she pulled a funny face the year before she should do it again! Youngest son still wearing the glasses - don't you just love the crazy angle? at least he was wearing them. We had three pairs for him the ones he was wearing the pair that needed repair and would be taken in to the opticians soon and the pair that was at the opticians waiting to be collected. we did this for ten years and he soldiered through it because he wanted to get rid of the squint without surgery as much as I did.

My daughter has moved on to secondary school but the photographer has still put the tallest on the right - better composition eh? This is 1977 so ages 10 and 9.
Eldest son was developing his wry sense of humour and delighted in long and rambling jokes and he could always get his younger brother to do most anything he wanted, but just let anyone try to harm them and they closed ranks and were united against the world.

You can tell I am quite fond of them can't you?

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Where else can I be?

The Summer Scavenger Hunt devised by Rinda ended today and I had completed it a couple of weeks ago but.... BUT, yesterday we went to the free book shop, which has closed now, and then for a little ride up to Morrisons for tea.
Her in Newport there is a pub called The Handpost. This has, in turn, given the name to the area that surrounds the pub. While we paused at the traffic lights by the pub we chuckled over the fact that the cafe in the row of shops was called That Cafe. and decided that it was a great name because when someone says meet me up the Handpost you can say "Oh yes, let's meet in That Cafe" and you will be actually giving the name. Well it made us laugh.
I was craning my neck around to try and get a picture of the sign but there was a car in the way and then I spotted the notice above the door
Now that made me laugh but I did have time to snap it as the lights changed and we were underway again.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Family portraits

Rinda asked us if we had ever had a family portrait taken over here at Gallo Organico and it set me thinking
Several people said that family portraits weren't really a thing that happens over here in the UK and I wondered if the ubiquitous School Photographs were what stopped us going to a photographer's studion to have a special picture taken. After all why fork out to a studio when you know that your children will be photographed every year from the time they start school. The more I think about it the more I am certain that the school photograph is the reason I never took my lot to a studio. They were photographed together from the time that the youngest started school.
The closest we have come to a portrait picture is when Miss Em took a picture of us on holiday

Now when you consider that she is only eight and a half I think, with a little photoshop to remove the people behind us and stop the pole growing out of my hat, we'll have a picture that could grace a Christmas card. Although Mr M hated the top I was wearing so perhaps it'll just go in the album for this year.
I told him I was only intending wearing it until it was worn out and he said "I decree that top worn out and no longer wearable." 
"If he hates it that much," I thought "I'll put it in the charity shop bag right after it has been washed." And I did. 

Monday, 16 September 2013

Simply a moment - September

Simply a moment was devised by Alexa at Trimming the Sails - why not go over there and read all the other moments, after you've read mine, of course

Time 8.40am 16 September. I glance a the clock as Miss Em comes through the front door. There is something important about that time today. She gives me a hug and tells me that Daddy is collecting her from school this afternoon and then she is away down the hall and out through the door in her eagerness to be in school. Her Daddy waves his hand briefly as he rushes to keep up with her.
I glance at the clock again and my eye goes to the envelope on the shelf below the clock. Of course! 45 years ago to the minute the Midwife was telling me "You have a beautiful boy!"
Memories of the shock I felt make me blush even now, because I had been so certain that this baby would be a girl.
"Gosh, he's a big baby," says the midwife and she cleans him up and measures him, "Let's see 24 inches long. Well he's going to be tall! Now come on baby let's get you weighed." She paused for a moment and rested the baby on the bed before heaving the scales up so that the cloth sling was unsupported. Then she let him down onto the bed again and gave me a look.
"Nine and three quarter pounds, that's the same as a Christmas turkey!"

The assistant midwife chortled, I roared with laughter and the Midwife allowed herself a small grin.
Now my youngest child is 6'6" tall, drives 40 ton articulated lorries for a living and still gives his Mum plenty of hugs.
Many happy returns, Mark.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

F...F...Find something else to do

A friend said something on facebook and it reminded me of another story. So I thought I should get it saved.

When my eldest son was in Secondary school he joined the camping club and every year the club went to Brittany for ten days. He saved his pocket money and we gave him some money and his father also contributed.
The coach was due to arrive back at the school at 9pm so all the parents were waiting. And Waiting.

The coach and the three cars and a minibus finally arrived at 11.30pm as the ferry had been late because of bad weather.

All the children came down off the coach saying Hi to their parents, calling to their Mums and Dads and shouting to friends.
Eldest son stepped down from the bus saying "I lost five francs on the ferry!"
I gave the stupid response "Where?" He gave me a Look and said
"in my coat, but it's alright Miss lent it to me" and carried on to the back of the coach to get his rucksack.
I thought about it for a moment and then found the teacher and paid her the five francs back and still stunned by the loss of his coat we took him home.
The following day we went to see my parents so that he could give them the gifts he had bought. He regaled them with tall tales of how everyone had managed to get into trouble except him at different times and then began a long and convoluted explanation of a football game.
Granny went to make a cuppa but Grandad was still there as were young brother and elder sister. I think he got so caught up in the telling that he forgot about the adults and described how one of the other team members had become a little more physical than was needed in a tackle.
His voice raised as he remembered the tension and emotion of the moment
"So I told him to Fu....." Granny walks back into the room and he became aware of four adult faces just waiting for him to over-step the mark and say that fatal F word.
" Fu...Fu.. find something else to do!"
We cheered

Friday, 13 September 2013

Works Barbecue!

Most years the company that Mr M works for has a barbecue for the workers. Last year they didn't do it and I believe there were Complaints!
This year it was back and I should have told you about it on the day it happened but I had another story to tell then. Anyway we attended the barbecue, or B - B - Q as Miss Em insists on calling it. Me, Mr M, Mummy and Miss Em. Biker Boy was working so Mummy had his drinks tickets and ice cream tickets.
We took our chairs and let Miss Em loose on the inflatable assault course
She was nearly too quick for me to catch her on camera

"Sit still and wave!" "wait till I cover up my knickers! You don't want to see
 my knickers do you , Grandma? Why are you laughing?"

Mr M supervising two colleagues as they work on the Krypton factor.
They had to fit a pile of different sized blocks into a cubed space.
All three work in logistics. Well it made me laugh

Mummy taste testing the burgers and declaring them good she
did the same for the hog roast.

Miss Em could not believe she had ever been before and had to be shown the scrap book pages from previous years the next day after school. Yay for scrapbooking. She then had to look at pages from scrapbooks of Mummy when she was eight but that's for another day.
So a good day was had by all even though the alcohol brought out the wasps in their thousands. I didn't get stung. It was ok because the paramedic/ambulance depot is next door to the venue so I was safe.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Off to a New Adventure

I have just given my eldest grandchild a hug and sent him on his way to Liverpool where he will spend the next three years at John Moore's University doing Outdoor Activities and Environmental Studies

Having completed his DofE Gold award a couple of years ago and spent the last two years using all his spare time to encourage and assist others to complete their Gold awards this is a natural progression.

This will be the first time he has left home. He has been away on climbing expeditions in North Wales and canoeing down various rivers but home has always been with Mum. Now he will be living up North. Thank goodness the people are really friendly!

I am so proud of him and even though we didn't see a lot of him he is going to be missed.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Foot in mouth - another place we can't go back to

On Saturday we had a lovely day out with Mr and Mrs Bluefunnel - a nice cuppa after the tour of the house and then to the OK Diner for lunch. After that we headed towards Wales - we like to go home that way rather than down the main A49 with all the big trucks.

We stopped at the cheese shop, as you do - or at least as we do - and had a little tasting session before purchasing some tasty comestibles. Because the shop is quite small I bought our cheese and then went outside to wait.
Pretty soon Mr and Mrs B came out and Mr B had his "I-won't-laugh-it'll-just-encourage-her" face on. I raised an eyebrow and asked "what?" as they climbed into the car
"Foot in mouth" said Mrs B
"Oh yes, bigtime!" said Mr B
They buckled up and we headed out of the carpark. Mr B composed herself and explained. This is what she told us.
"The lady behind the counter is not small. She was discussing dieting with another customer and said
'I rely on the fairy on my shoulder to tell me when to stop or refuse food'."
Mrs B paused here to wipe her eyes, before continuing
"Before I could think, I could hear the words in my voice and realised that I was saying them out loud, I said 'Oh, yours doesn't work either!'"
"I grabbed our cheese and got out of there before she threw us out" said Mr B
Mrs B compounded her crime by saying "I laughed so much a tear ran down my leg."

Now this I feel qualifies for a gold medal for foot in mouth.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Storytelling Sunday Three? - September

Storytelling sunday was begun by Sian over at From High in the Sky This year the theme is Pick Your Precious.
Pick Your Precious is about celebrating the little things you love: those souvenirs, bits and pieces, things from your past you can't bear to throw out. You know, the special little something you have tucked away in a drawer or up on a shelf? Or the thing you love most in a room? Or the object you would save if you knew you had to leave the country? Your favourite things. Why not pop over to Sians place when you have read my story, there you will find loads of other stories.

This month my story is quite short and my precious is very small. It lives in a corner of my hand bag and is mostly not thought about at all.
It's a lucky pebble, given to me by Mr M about ooh I don't know, twenty years ago.
We know it is lucky by the markings on it. Those white lines go all the way around the pebble, that makes it lucky. there are more than one, that makes it lucky. I did not find it myself, it was given to me with love, that makes it lucky. It can only be found on a beach, that makes it lucky. You can only have one at a time, that keeps it lucky. When someone gives you a new one you must take the old one to a beach and throw it out into the sea so that the mermaids can refill it with good luck for the next person.
My lucky pebble is probably due for a refill about now but I like the feel of it when my fingers touch it unexpectedly in my bag and I have grown fond of it in a funny way. One day Mr M will find a new one and then I will return it to the mermaids, filled with love and memories for them to turn into luck for someone else