Weekend fun

A really busy weekend, a tonic after feeling rough all week.
Friday included a lazy morning then lunch with Debbie at Masons. Great food, and company with the usual laughter and a good old chin wag.
Just what the doctor ordered. Time with Debbie is always uplifting!

Saturday was an early start up to London to meet the bridesmaids for Victoria's wedding next July.
A pit stop at Patisserie Valerie, then the dresses. Colour chosen, styles experimented with and a job jobbed.

Next up a taxi to Harrods for shoe browsing/shopping! I bought macaroons! A short walk to Harvey Nichols, more shoe inspiration and then it was goodbyes to the Mums with little ones.

The Grey Goose Bar beckoned with a light lunch and cocktail extravaganza for four! Delightful!


A trip to Sloane Street to Jimmy's where Georgina fell in love with the Cinderella edition!

You need a Prince Charming to buy them though. I loved it when Georgina tried them on and said ' they look good even with my jeans' Classic!

Kisses and hugs goodbye and we made our way home. Exhausted, but so very happy to be a small part of today, seeing all the beauties in their finery and a glimpse of what is to come!

That optimism for the future, the joy of seeing people so happy and making dreams turn into reality is again uplifting.

Sunday and I'd booked tickets to Highclere Castle in March. Highclere is the home of the Earl of Caernarvon. Most recently the house is the setting for Downton Abbey and there are many references to that. I was pleased that there was also an Egyptian exhibition as the 5th
Earl was heavily involved with the excavation of the tomb of Tutenkamun in 1923, and I knew Kevin would particularly enjoy this.
The exhibition was fairly small but allowed the queue for the house to dissipate. The House is lovely, although I enjoyed Althorp the previous week more, especially with the guided element.
A scone and a cuppa was next before we strolled the wonderful gardens-Kevin suggesting that they were Capability Brownesque!

We walked to the Goodwill Garden, the Monks garden and sought the secret garden, unfortunately closed.

A slight detour and we saw a statue, which confirmed Kevin's thoughts re the garden landscape: I was suitably impressed

The folly loomed ahead so a quick walk up the incline for a few fun photos

We prepared for our journey home, which was a bit squeaky as we were 9 miles from a garage, with only 6 miles of fuel showing on the dashboard. At one point 3 miles to go and 0 miles showing!
We managed to limp into the garage to fill up and made the journey home. It was tiring but also thoroughly enjoyable, the sun shone, we laughed, and we are now very experienced in circumnavigating the M25.

I have had a memory packed weekend with loved ones, clement weather and precious time with special people. 💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕🍾❤️💕💕💕

Life changes

On Sunday we drove to Bristol to our niece's new home, to surprise Kevin's sister on the eve of a momentous birthday.
I'd been nearby, actually having lunch at the above pub earlier this year, and after a very early start we arrived before the birthday girl.

Viv was suitably surprised and pleased at the gathering of family in the garden.

There were bubbles and beer, lots of chatter, laughter, (thank you Lizzie),and also talk of the family wedding in 2018. Victoria asked Georgina to be one of her bridesmaids, which meant tears of happiness.


Andy and Victoria's neighbour enjoys taking a photo or two, so he popped round and these are a fantastic reminder of the day.

Viv retired from work on the Thursday and her and Don have some great plans to bring to fruition, plus time to spend with the beautiful Bella.

Viv isn't one to speak at occasions, usually beavering away, but today she did, briefly. She thanked people for coming, and then the tears started. She continued and thanked Don in his support of her retiring early: it was so touching. Viv has a serenity about her and it is obvious that she is loved and cherished by all who know her.

I wish Viv a long, healthy and happy retirement, to enjoy the times ahead, and the memories to be made! (And that I can follow suit as soon as possible😉)

Two decades and a funeral


Bev and I have known each other for over 30 years and a recent invite to accompany her to althorp was one that I had to take up.

Weather was set fair and I drove to her home, and we made the journey to Northants.


First stop was to visit the above, then we made our way to the cafe for lunch. Ginger beer and a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich went down a treat.

We wandered through the exhibitions delighting in the photos of Diana, reminded of her charity work, and her legacy. As we approach the 20th anniversary of her death, there has been renewed coverage in the media, only last week the programme with her beloved sons ‘Diana, Our Mother’ which gave a flavour of the fun loving woman she was.

We thoroughly enjoyed the tour of the ancestral home, with an enthusiastic and informative guide. We then made our way out to the lake.
It is such a beautiful spot and we spent time on a bench reflecting on the last twenty years. We are both blessed with wonderful families, good health, and take opportunities that come our way. That doesn’t mean that we’ve not had difficult times, but with love and support we have had the ability to cope.
A cuppa and a sweet treat were required before hitting the gift shop!

A long journey back and a fish supper was consumed, before I made my trip home.

A truly wonderful day spent in lovely company!

Another year rolls by

Another Academic year ends tomorrow, with more goodbyes with the prospect of hellos in September. Changes to roles and new students about to embark on their next destination of the journey of lifelong learning.


It’s been a year full of highs and lows and on Monday I return to a student free school with a list as long as my arm of things to do.

Fingers crossed the new sixth form facilities will be complete and ready for the students. Our students have had the very best education with committed, outstanding teaching, despite being housed in a corridor and a former students area. This new flagship facility will inspire and energise them further! 

I for one, can’t wait, but there is still a fair way to go. 

Cricket  England v South Africa

The reason behind our trip was the cricket match today, and we awoke to get skies and drizzle. 

Breakfast and getting ready took precedence and the drizzle became heavy showers 😞 

As we wiped away 40 minutes a break in the clouds, and the rain stopped so we walked to Cardiff bay station.


We had a lovely walk to Sophia gardens, but on arrival found we were 2 1/2 hours early! 


Once in the SWALEC ground we had a tea and chatted to other spectators.


AB de Villiers won the toss and England into bat. Behind where we were sitting I spied Mike Phillips, a Welsh rugby player, and had to take a cheeky snap


England batted well, with Dawid Malan hitting an impressive 78 on his debut. They got 181 runs from their 20 overs, so a chase was on.

Very few would know all of the players on both sides, but we were treated to a feisty display both with bat and in the field. SA lost the key wicket of AB de Villiers and SA were 19 runs short. England won the series 2-1.

We stayed for the celebrations and presentations.


We had failed to find the time of the last train to Cardiff Bay, so went for a bus, but had to call a taxi in the end.


We picked up a bottle of fizz, some pasta and cheesecake and enjoyed a mini feast.it has been another lovely sojourn with laughter, nature and sport. 

When’s the next one? ☺️😎

Dyffryn Gardens

Another day, another house and gardens, this one a National Trust property just outside Cardiff. The gardens less formal than yesterday, but a sculpture here and there.

The sun shone intermittently but the moisture in the air did not dampen our enthusiasm.


We stopped for the obligatory cream tea and wandered around the stalls where books were being sold. Debbie bought 3 wisdens at a knock down price. For drop everything and read at school I got of photo of me reading one. 


A short drive to Cardiff for some shopping, oh and a glance at the principality stadium! 


We booked to see the film Hampstead and the cinema is a short walk from where we are staying. The film was funny, poignant and based on a true story. Truly delightful. A burger at Five Guys followed with a stroll home to a face pack, strawberries and casino royale.


Onc again,exhausted from our wanderings, bed is welcome and much cooler, so hopefully a good niht’s sleep😴😴😴😴😴😴

Chippenham, Cardiff and Cricket.

Debbie and I left yesterday and travelled to Chippenham. A detour to the Swindon retail outfit resulted in English pounds being spent and a easy ride to our hotel for the evening.

A walk around to find our bearings and a refreshing cider each had to be done. Before we knew it it was time for bed and the comfort of our room at the Best Western Angel  +. This morning our task was to find breakfast and a short walk to Grounded provided that.


A short drive to Calne and to visit Bowood House, the family seat of the Marquess of Lansowne. We felt a rugby connection with Lansdowne Road, and the house is approached from Derry Hill. 

Another interesting fact was the 2nd Marquess was made Prine Minister for negotiating peace with America after the War of Independence.


The gardens landscaped by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown are stunning. Every twist and turn of the paths provide differing vistas to enjoy. The lake with the Doric Temple, the cascade and the House itself just beautiful. The grander rooms of the house were designed by Robert Adam, a prolific interior designer of his time, and the orangery he designed is where you walk in for the tour. No photos are allowed so you’ll have to visit to behold the beauty.

We left after a cuppa to continue our journey to Cardiff. We arrived through rush hour traffic and were met by our Airbnb host. The flat is lovely with all amenities and near to shops and bars: handy for the Lions match tomorrow, weather permitting! 

We cooked dinner and watched the cricket being played at Taunton, the second match of three. SA won, setting up Sunday’s match conclusion in Cardiff, the purpose of our trip.

We went for a walk in the rain and returned exhausted from our perambulation.

I’ll leave you with two pictures 

Pulchritude

Way back in February I saw that David Tennant was to star at the Wyndham’s theatre in Don Juan in Soho, and bought tickets as I would happily pay to see him open a paper bag! 

I won’t lie, after last Saturday’s events in London, I was anxious about travelling up there.  I don’t believe that by carrying on we are ‘showing’ that we are strong etc, as I don’t think that the people involved in perpetrating terror gives two hoots. But we have to find a normality in our lives as we have little choice if we want to do things.


In many ways this was what the production was about, someone living life their way: selfish, uncaring , hedonistic and amblivient to others feelings, just their own gratification. 


I love the word pulchritude and use it often and it was pleasing that it was used in the production. David Tennant first came to the fore in Casanova and his comic timing is exceptional, some of his mannerisms remind me of Andrew.

After the interval there is a scene where he reflects on how we have forgotten how to live, so many living vicariously via their social media pages and that was very poignant. 


Before we knew it the end had come and the audience rose to their feet and the cast bowed to the rapturous applause. David came back on stage in a I ❤️ London tshirt, even louder applause. He then asked the audience to sit and he gave a brilliant speech and asked for donations to the Red Cross to help all those affected by Manchester and London attacks. I was moved, his humour, his words unexpected but welcome. I love the Wyndham’s  Theatre: a wonderfully intimate venue. 

And so time for the return journey, this was the penultimate performance and just before we left two people came in with bags of food, presumably the cast’s tea before their final hurrah!

Reviews were mixed but I laughed out loud and I cried too.

So now just wait to see what he does next.💕🎭

Education and what it can mean

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit another Catholic school in East London. The journey from Chelmsford was a real trip back to the past especially when we drove through Ilford, Manor Park and Forest Gate. Road names remain but so much has changed. 

We passed my old secondary school, the entrance door still familiar and the wall that cocooned us girls from the outside world still in tact.

We continued to drive down a road that I used to walk to the tennis courts, and to the Church where we celebrated many a Mass.


All this made me realise how fortunate I had been to have had a top class education, that despite my humble beginnings, my parents gave me the best start they could. I loved school and in the main,  academia suited me. This was a springboard for me and most days I am thankful for my language skills, my mathematical ability and my knowledge of the world and history.

Not everyone has these opportunities, or the support to make the most of them. For some, school and to conform, are not happy bed fellows, but we need to find a way to engage, support and encourage these as they deserve. 

One of my favourite songs is ‘different corner’ by George Michael, and I often reflect on the choices that my parents, myself and my husband have made. My life could have been very different but I have been lucky and I appreciate all that has been done for me.


The school I visited faces so many challenges: gang culture, poverty, immigrants, and inner city anxieties, but there was such a positive vibe within the school, a real determination to achieve and be the best you can be. It was a delight, but it’s tough I’m sure. 


I returned home and we all went to the polling station together to vote, and I recanted about my day and my journey, appreciation of where my family live, the opportunities that they have had and continue to have! 

Getting older…

Over the last few months, probably three years, I have struggled with fatigue, weight gain, changes in vision, and most recently tinnitus. 


I have had medication for high blood pressure for 18 years and for an under active thyroid for 7 years.


A few weeks ago I decided to make changes. A trip to the doctor means a blood test today-joy!


More frightening has been BP readings twice a day for a week. Erratic and too high. These have been given to the doctor  so with the blood test results should give a clearer picture.

Opticians and dentist yesterday and my eyes may be being effected by my medical conditions! Tishbapoo!


I have started to monitor what I’m eating and a conscious effort to walk more. This can’t be a fair weather change either. So far I’ve lost 6lbs, but a fairway still to go to feel comfortable. 

This getting older is a state of mind and I will do all I can to keep me healthy and to enjoy my life as I reach the grand age of 56! Although the morning aches and pains take longer to dissipate, I intend to grab what is ahead of me and enjoy to the fullest! Making small changes can make a big difference. 😉💕💕