The land down under 🤗

Jet lagged I’ve decided to write about our travels so far.

We left England after meeting Colin, Kevin’s best friend for over 40 years, where we all flew to HK. Have to say, Cathay Pacific were great and the journey, including 4 hour changeover, was smooth, in fact, we all agree that it has been one of the best long haul flights we have done.

We arrived at Cairns and the prebooked transport was waiting. An hour later we were at paradise links resort and they were brilliant in getting us into our rooms as we were humongously early!

After a change of clothes we made our way to reception and had a big surprise as sitting there, casually speaking to Colin was Jen and Tony, Lis’s parents. We were disappointed that we wouldn’t be seeing them, so this was a real treat.

We made arrangements to meet for dinner later, and we had lunch at a nearby country club, an amble back in the humidity and we all decided a power nap was required!

We met in reception, all feeling remarkably chipper and via shuttle bus went into Port Douglas. We had booked a table at Tin Shed and were sat on a jetty overlooking the entrance to the Marina.

It was a shame it was cloudy, but there was great conversation, laughter, memories shared and good food.

Tiredness started to overwhelm, so we made our way to pick up the bus back to where we are staying. We said our goodbyes, hugs all around, boarded the bus and waved to Tony and Jen.

They are such remarkable people, so thoughtful, such good company, and it was fantastic to see them again, and hopefully again soon! Blessed to have them in our lives: Andrew is so lucky to have their support and love.

The rain is lashing down outside now, so today’s rainforest trip will be very authentic!

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Getting excited

I can’t believe that after three years we are about to embark on another antipodean trip🤗!

As it gets closer, my smile becomes wider, my laughter louder and my heart almost fit to burst❤️!

Last few checks to make, list items to cross off.

I do so love this time, the anticipation, the excitement and that feeling of pure joy. New places to visit, new experiences and memories to be made! I can’t wait

Where did last week go..

Last week was half term, although I was in school for a few days.

I relish the solitude and opportunity to work uninterrupted. You achieve so much and it’s also great to take stock, tidy up my desk and do filing.

Progress to finish the sixth form block is slow, but should be complete to handover soon!

It was also a week of catching up with friends, a thought provoking play and a family dinner, with some belly dancing to boot!

Oh and I made 28 Christmas cards too.

I now have to get in gear for Australia, with much to sort out: have we printed everything we need, washing, clothes, there is a list to cross off!

I had so much fun, and this week will be full of updating, chasing and trying to reassure that all is in place. We also have fireworks and a certain little lady’s birthday to celebrate!

A different corner

It is 36 years ago to the day Kevin and I got engaged. Time has flown by!

Tonight we watched 'Freedom' the George Michael documentary, and I feel quite sad about such a talented man who appeared to have enjoyed only fleeting glimpses of happiness in his personal life.

A voice of such depth, and soulfulness that could evoke tears of joy and sadness in equal measure.

So many of his songs have a place in my journey in life from the early eighties onwards. His premature death almost 10 months ago, still feels unreal, but his music, as I listen to it now, lives on.

😔

One of my favourites was A Different Corner, underrated in my opinion and Chris Martin sang it earlier this year and it closed the documentary. A poignant moment for me.

I felt like crying, but after a few philosophical words with Joe, I have overcome that and appreciate that I have what I have.

Good night xxx

World mental health awareness day….

I don't know what it is about this time of year, but I always seem to have a dip in my mental state.

Is it the end of summer?
Is it the darker nights?
Is it the colder weather?
Is it the tank running low?

Any of or none of the above, I just don't know.

Whatever it is, my mood changes, normally associated with a bout of illness, so I guess a beleaguered immune system plays a part.

I try so hard to be all things to all people, I expect too much of myself and others. I never learn……

The face is painted on, the smile too and away I go, doing the same, expecting a different outcome and guess what I get the same results!!!

Don't get me wrong, I have so much to be thankful for, a home, family, and great friends. I enjoy myself and in the main I am happy, but then this black fog descends and I just want to run away and hide, but I can't hide from myself….

So I talk to myself, usually on my way home from work and Kevin is brilliant in supporting me through it, and little by little the fog recedes until the next time.

At school today I tweeted #inyourcorner for mental health awareness day especially for young people, in particular young men, who keep their worries etc close to their chests.

Don't be fooled by what's presented on the outside, take time to listen.

Anyone, at anytime can be affected. I know who's in my corner. Do you?

Coral and warmth

This weekend we embarked on a bit of a celebratory route. Friday night and a trip to Covent Garden and Clos Maggiore- billed as the most romantic restaurant in the world no less!

We were joined by friends Bev and Neil and it was superb. The food, the atmosphere, the service: all top notch!

Saturday was spent running errands and getting my nails done!

Sunday morning arrived and we packed for a surprise overnight stay (well a surprise for me!). A journey to Newmarket and we booked in to the Bedford lodge and spa hotel.

We both enjoyed a massage followed by time relaxing in the pool, sauna and steam room.

We relaxed in our room and then got ready for dinner where Prosecco flowed followed by another sumptuous meal!

Monday morning arrived all too soon and we made our way to breakfast. This was our actual Anniversary-35 years!

Champagne offered and as Kevin said 'rude not to'.

We made our way to the American cemetery and memorial, a place I visited in May. I knew Kevin would be profoundly interested in visiting.

We returned home refreshed and it felt longer than an overnight stay.
We had spoken about our hopes and dreams past, present and for the future, our kids, their hopes and dreams, family and friends, those no longer with us in body, but still in spirit.
We laughed, we shed a tear or two and we ruminated over what is the secret of a happy marriage.

I don't profess to know, and we've had a few dark times, but we have weathered them together. We are lucky to have a shared view on our family home and money ( Kevin saves it, I spend it! )

There is a warmth to Kevin that is like a big soft blanket that wraps around you when times are hard. He is the sensible one, his dry sense of humour can often throw you off guard. He built my confidence, he rarely chides, except when he tells me not to sweat the small stuff.

Kevin is the sweetest, kindest man, he's the secret to our marriage.

Whilst we are fortunate now to enjoy the good things life can bring, spending time, as we did this weekend, is the best 🎁

That apart, we have our Australia 🇦🇺 anniversary adventure still to look forward to!

Two weeks in

Well that's two weeks of the Academic year gone

Time just goes so quickly. The start is always frenetic, but this year with the sixth form building project 5 weeks overdue, and possibly another 5 week delay, it's even more so.
Balls in the air trying to ensure all is in place, whilst preparing for a HR audit, a GDPR audit and the ICE visit.

Satisfyingly, things are taking shape, and I feel a real sense of pride. I have had such great support from a Governor, who has been with me every step of the way: we had a shared vision and it has been a delight!

Today provided another boost to my mood with a visit to a brand designer. It is such a fillip to meet people so energised, so full of ideas, a passion for change and to feel 'yes, that hits the nail on the head'!

I walked back to work from the meeting, full of hope, it was a lovely sunny morning, and a dear colleague, celebrating her birthday, had left a cupcake on my desk

Yummy!

We have student art work on the walls and this is being updated and I particularly like one which is in the style of Katherine Jebb. So wonderful to enjoy their talents and achievements.

All in all a great start and long may the positivity remain!

Recipe for success

A few days at home, a morning at work, a disturbed night, packing and we were on our way to Brighton! A detour to pick up the macaroons that on Wednesday were not ready, but. Thanks to colourfulbites for making the magic happen!
We had a good journey and a cuppa was shared whilst working on POA and shopping list!

We enjoyed the delights of the garden and we hit the road canhams for lamb, pasties and scotch eggs then Tesco for everything else. A stop at the florist at Hove station for a riot of gerbera and roses.

More prep and a wonderful pizza dinner was enjoyed. POA revisited for Saturday and more photos!

So it was 60 years to the day, up early, fantastic breakfast, but not until the food order was collected, and the French bread.
There had been a delivery which was a wonderful surprise – a signed card from Her Majesty!
Elaine decided that the pond had to be emptied and refilled. Jane and mum redid the meringue and it was all coming together: balloons, bunting,food and drink!
The first guests arrived, and then a steady stream followed. Fizz flowed, food was ready and a rolling stream of photos of family, weddings and music over 60 years.
We had photo booth fun, speeches, some more tearful than others. My Dad doesn't say much and he made such an effort to thank everyone – so touching.

Mum said a few words about the secret of their success: be friends, like each other love each other and make sure they don't snore!

It was a wonderful day and hopefully everyone enjoyed it as we did!

We were so tired but in a good way. Sixty years…….. raise your glasses to Celli and Andrew🍾🍾🍾🍾💕💕💕💕

Keep right on to the end of the road……

Sunday arrived and we had beautiful weather for the Scottish relatives, friends and neighbours to celebrate the diamond anniversary.

Food, drink and chairs were in place. Guests arrived and laughter rang out. We spilled over into the garden and it was so good to see so many smiling faces.

I read a poem by Bob Marley, dad had bought a ring and we toasted the happy couple.

Tired but exhausted we went to bed, it was a delightful day!

Monday morning we said goodbye to Elaine and Jane and we had a relaxed day followed by dinner out.

An early start on Tuesday as we had to go to Eyemouth. Elaine had seen there was an ice cream and fish and chip shop named Giacopazzi's, which was the maiden name of our maternal grandmother, Valentina.
The journey was fine up to the point that we turned off on to the A1107. Not what I expected, we were high up, drop to the left, so I had to practice deep breathing and just put my foot down!

We met Kerry, who was so welcoming and offered great hospitality as well as her precious time. Some information was shared although little progress regarding any tenuous family link, but we will continue our research.

Next up Harrogate and another 3 hours in the car!
We briefly alighted at our accommodation and then on to Mama Doreen's Cupcake Emporium!

Our afternoon was exquisite, sumptuous treats galore with lashings of tea. For once I didn't partake in the Prosecco, of which I was thankful later!

We went back to the accommodation booked, and it took a walk across the rickety decking, down the loose slabs, holding onto the wobbly handrail. This didn't bode well. Mum's ankle had swollen and she struggled, and once inside the accommodation was reminiscent of student lodgings. Then a train passed, and, the last straw, we couldn't work the TV. The thought of having to kill 5-6 hours before bed as mum couldn't walk anywhere, required a decision to be made: so I did and we left to drive home.

We made good time and it was lovely to be in my own bed!

I had brought down with me Mum's and my Wedding dress – now over 60 years old. I didn't think Nina would try it on, but she did and wow! 👀👀

We are now gearing up for Saturday's celebration and I have even managed to go to work, get some hearing aids and visit our original next door neighbour!

💕💕💕🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉😴😴😴😴

Shine bright like a diamond….


My sister and I travelled almost 500 miles by road yesterday to be a part of the first celebration of our parents 60th wedding anniversary.

What a privilege to be able to be here, and what an achievement!

We arrived after a 12 hour journey, falling exhausted into bed. An early start today and a 5k walk before breakfast was delightful with a sunny aspect, unexpected, as we are in Scotland.

Rain prevailed, but jobs required were all carried out.

POA for the next two days agreed left a few hours to wile away before dinner. This was the perfect opportunity to find wedding and bridesmaid dresses, card and art work kept for over 50+ years. This in itself is so touching.
Then you come across a card with your grandmother's handwriting. This then evokes so many memories.

Today has been filled with so much joy and laughter, which will continue over the coming week.

I can't express how lucky I feel to be a part of all this. How wonderful it is to have so many memories and the possibility of so many more.

💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💍💍💕💕💕🍾🍾