Saturday, 29 August 2009

Yesterday we went to visit Craig’s brother and his wife down in Norfolk. Now, if you know me fairly well then you’ll probably know that G and S are the only members of Craig’s immediate family that we speak to. We haven’t had any contact with the rest of them for about 15 years and they haven’t seen 7 of the children (I don’t know if they even know we have had another seven since we had Beth), I don’t know if they are aware we changed our name several years ago or where we are living. It’s a long story which I won’t bore you with and the situation isn’t likely to change as Craig is only interested in speaking to them if they pay him back the £50,000 they owe him.

Anyway, we have stayed in touch with G and S and see them on a fairly irregular basis but we email as well. They moved house a couple of years ago so off we went to see it (and them of course). The children had a great time running round their garden but it’s a very small house so it did get a bit claustrophobic when it was raining.

S has been making wine which we had a small taste of and inspired us to give it a go ourselves. Craig has gone off to find the equipment we’ll need. It also inspired me to give jam and chutney making a go as well which I’ve never tried before but it will be good use of the fruit in our garden.

We’ve got apple, pear and plum trees out there but this is the first year that we’ve actually picked any of it. Usually it all falls and gets left to rot because we’re never sure when it’s ready. We’ve got through loads and loads of the plums though, they’re gorgeous. The children aren’t too keen on the apples, simply because they don’t look as perfect as they do in the shops. There’s nothing wrong with them, the skin is just a bit blemished. The pears are rock hard though so we’re not entirely sure whether to pick them to ripen indoors or just leave them on the tree until they soften up.

We’re going to pick the elderberries as well and use them for wine. I nearly picked the blossom for cordial but didn’t so I would like to use them for something. And there’s a fantastic place for blackberries nearby so we’ll go there and pick some of those too - although we never seem to make it home with enough to do much with as the children usually scoff them all on the way back.

Next year we are definitely going to get the veg patch going. I think we’re going to dig up the grass at the back of the house for it as long as we can find a way to keep the chickens off it. You watch, we’ll dig it, get it planted up and then decide to move house, lol

Also this week, Jack had his first ever ride on a train. He was so excited about it and we got some lovely photos that I will have to get off Craig’s laptop to post here. They went from Boston to Skegness, walked down to the seafront for an ice-cream and a paddle at Fairy Dell then got the train back. He’s already asked if he can do it again one day. He is obsessed with level crossings and was very excited going over all the ones on the journey.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Two posts in one day - what a treat, lol

Today we joined many families around the country in the trip to collect GCSE results. I'm very pleased to say Beth did really really well. I am so proud of her. She's very relieved as she thought she'd failed them.

So it's off to start her A levels next week.

I have to admit to feeling a bit tearful as I sat in the car waiting for her to come out - it doesnt seem like 16 years ago that she was a teeny tiny baby, and now I look at her and just feel proud. I was 19 when I had her and it's funny to see her with her baby brother, she's like a second mother to him.

A chance to be nosey!

Over the years we’ve moved house quite a lot. The house we live in now is the one that we’ve lived in for the longest - 6 years. We went through a phase of moving every 9-12 months for a while so this is the 9th house we’ve lived in.

I regularly check on Right Move to see if any of our old places are up for sale - the last house we lived in resold a couple of years ago. But I was on there last night and was quite pleased to see this one. It’s the one we lived in for the shortest time, less than two months, but it’s the one where Ellie was born.

It’s changed a lot since then, the master bedroom didn’t have the patio doors and the bed was against the wall adjacent to the window. The current owners have added the balcony and patio doors. The en-suite bathroom was an awful burgundy colour and the kitchen was dark brown but was huge. Admittedly there is a lot of sadness associated with the house for me. I was very depressed at the time, Craig was working in Amsterdam (I went into labour with Ellie an hour after the last plane left Schipol so he missed her birth) and it was the time that I decided to cut off contact with my mother. It was February so my memories are of dark, damp days, feeling very lonely, and as I didn’t drive I was dependent on public transport.

That’s why we lived there for such a short time, because it was so awful. The fact the landlords would come round and look into the windows didn’t help, and the house was filthy, our feet would be black just from walking on the carpets.

The details mention a raised lawn - actually it was on a steep hill. The field in photo number 16 was actually almost level with the top floor windows!! The house looks so much nicer now, I can’t believe how much it is up for sale for though.

The room they use as a front sitting room was the dining room, their dining room was a games room complete with snooker table (not nearly as grand as it sounds!) and the office was another sitting room but because they were on the bottom floor we never used them and they had a kind of damp, isolated feeling to them.

I also found another couple of houses on there that were interesting to me - one is next door to one of the other houses we lived in (you can just see it on the photos) and the other one is next door to my Aunt’s old house where I spent a lot of my childhood.

Is it just me that keeps an eye out for their previous homes???

Monday, 24 August 2009

This morning I had an appointment to have some blood taken to see if we can find out what is wrong with me. I think it’s my thyroid, I fit a lot of the symptoms so I’m hoping that’s all it is and with medication I’ll be feeling better soon (and hopefully lose some weight instead of gaining it no matter how hard I try).

The man who does the blood tests at my surgery asked what I was doing afterwards - I am certain he was just chatting to relax me rather than trying it on with me, lol I said we didn’t know where to take the children and he suggested somewhere called Hubbard’s Hills in Louth. As we didn’t have any better ideas that’s where we decided to go.

One thing I often get asked is how we all get around - we take two cars! Our family car is an 8 seater which we’ve obviously now outgrown so we have to take my car as well. It does mean that if we have a lot of stuff to take, especially if we’re going away, we can fold up the rear seats in the Previa and it gives us loads of storage room.

So, off we went in our mini convoy through the Lincolnshire Wolds - a beautiful part of the country, full of little villages and old churches. About 5 minutes down the road we had our first “wee stop”.

Hubbard’s Hills is lovely, a nice easy walk along a brook that you can paddle in. We weren’t expecting this so the children were all wearing long trousers and well, lets just say, they got a bit wet!! There were a lot of wasps as well which wasn’t much fun but otherwise it was a lovely afternoon. Next time we will take swimming costumes and a picnic (and something to kill the wasps!!)

On the way home we stopped off at Pizza Hut in Skegness for dinner which we really enjoyed. The children were beautifully behaved which always makes outings a far more pleasant experience.

This is the last week of the school holidays and once again the time has flown by. We’re almost ready for when they go back. All the uniform is bought and named (it took me two and a half hours to iron all the tapes on) and we just need to get shoes for everyone and three new school bags. I think we’ll do that next week.

We’re not sure what we’re going to do for the rest of the week - Craig’s got a week off so we’re hoping to do something every day. He’s promised to take Jack for a train ride one day, hopefully he’ll get round to it, or we might even take them to one of those vintage railway places (we’ll be bored out of our heads but the boys will probably love it).

Hope your week is a good one!

Sunday, 23 August 2009


What’s your reaction when you see a mother giving her baby one of these?

Do you sit and give her looks as you think to yourself how awful it is that she obviously can’t be bothered to breastfeed? Do you feel sad for that poor baby being deprived of his mother’s milk? Do you look at her and think to yourself that she looks like the sort who would bottle feed? I bet she didn’t even try when her baby was born did she?

Do you stop to ask yourself why she might be bottle feeding? Does it occur to you that she might even be a peer supporter for the local Sure Start? That she might sit on various breastfeeding promotion panels for the local hospital and health authority? That breastfeeding might actually be really important to her. That she’s breastfed other babies successfully before. But, for some reason breastfeeding just didn’t work out for her and her eighth baby? Just sayin’.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Happy half birthday

Happy half birthday!!

Yes, he’s 6 months old already. Where did the time go? And now he’s sitting in his high chair eating real food. Yes, that’s chocolate sponge cake he’s eating - if you can’t have cake on your birthday when can you have it??

Now he’s 16lb and 66.5cm long.

Here’s to the next 6 months little man. We all love you so much.