Last meal at the Harbour Grill

We opted to eat in the hotel and as it was raining it was a wise decision.

Food was delicious, company great and we toasted the holiday, and Colin’s upcoming big birthday next Sunday.

We again found ourselves talking about our families, the joy the heartache but also immense pride!

It has been awesome and memories aplenty!

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Ashes to Ashes, Gabba to Hong Kong…..

To see a day of Ashes test cricket, in Australia, was one of the reasons for the timing and destinations of this holiday.

We both love cricket, Kevin a very competent bat back in the day! Colin and him met at school, with Colin a demon fast bowler (well he is Jamaican)

So tickets were purchased and today was the day!

We had to pack, check out of our apartment, leave our bags to pick up later then a short walk to the RBWH bus station to catch the 340 to Woolloongabba.

We arrived in plenty of time and found our seats, which were excellent (Thank you to Andrew for picking these!)

The weather forecast over the last fortnight has ranged from rain, cloudy,partly sunny to thunderstorms! So this could’ve been interesting.

Play started promptly and there were the strains of Jerusalem resounding through the ground. Magical!

To witness one of the greatest contests in sport is spine tingling for me. We soaked up the sun, and let the story unfold. We saw Steve Smith, the Aussie captain, complete a patient 100, Pat Cummins get a credible 40+, wickets fell, albeit slowly and then Australia were all out.

Now for England to start there 2nd innings…

Cook and Stoneman came to the crease with hopes high. The atmosphere became very tense, with not only the field pressure, but the 30,000 Aussie fans, clapping and shouting for an England batsman to be out.

Alistair Cook went cheaply again, I would say that he hadn’t taken on board Steve Smith’s patient stance, but certainly early calls for him to be dropped are hasty.

Vince came to the crease and all too soon he was gone, replaced by Root, the captain, we hoped no more wickets would fall.

We left just before close of play, to ensure we picked up our bags before 7pm.

It was such an occasion, Kevin wearing the Australia vest Andrew and Lis bought him last year, much to Debbie’s mortification!

The crowd was noisy, and the drinking that can change how people behave, excessive. The profanities that we’re heard made me uncomfortable, the comments about ‘pommies’, unnecessary but I understand that this is all part of it.

Beer snakes aplenty with staff battling hard with limited staffing.

These latter mentioned observations take nothing away from a memorable, awesome day. Kevin and I even made it onto the big screen and Bruce managed to get a picture!!

A quick freshen up and we were at Brisbane Airport for our flight to Hong Kong, the last leg of our holiday. Check in and bag drop I found frustrating, farcical and time consuming. But I was tired, hungry and thirsty by that point. It had been a long, fantastic, memorable, awesome and did I say awesome, day!

Shopping, and Rugby League

Today we went into the city to have on last amble round, Colin went off gift shopping, whilst Kevin and I browsed.

Kevin, unusually bought something, a tie, whilst I bought gifts for my friend’s, Debbie, new grandsons, born the day previously.

It is so strange to see the Christmas decorations around whilst walking in this heat.

I did visit a nail salon as I have ‘lost’ 3 nails!

We all met for lunch and went to Jimmy’s on the Mall, which coincidentally was where we saw Jonny Bairstow the other evening. We enjoyed a lovely late lunch/early dinner whilst watching the cricket!

Opposite the restaurant there was a bridal shop, and also another shop name that reminded me of recent events!

Once back at the apartment we got ready for the evening’s sojourn at the Suncorp Stadium.

We had high hopes for a real contest, but Australia were just too good. Fiji had chances, but could rarely punch a hole in the defence, and were obviously tired out from all the defending they had to do.

Great that their supporters were so vociferous!

A slow walk back to Roma Street and then home. An usually ‘late’ night for us!

Paddle boards, palms and a puffer fish…

Here we are on a paradise island, with some of the people I love most, and I have had the fog descend on me.

I have thought I could ‘just get over it’, but I have noticeably withdrawn. There is no rhyme or reason per se, but the kids noticed it.

After our beach trip this morning we returned back to our apartment for lunch, and I find myself crying. After a little while I get up to go for a walk to try and shake this off, and Georgina insists on coming with me.

It’s very hot and we shared how we felt: I have to learn to talk more about how i’m feeling, I have to remember people are not mind readers. I have written before about the ‘fog’, I can see it, others can’t, but they see the different, withdrawn person, who doesn’t engage.

I think I’m hiding it well, obviously I’m not.

We all went for a walk to the beach at low tide, and a couple of more conversations were had. I have been blown away with their kindness, concern and very proud of them all.

Walking through the sea lapping around our ankles, seeing fish , crabs, sea snails, with the level rising up to our waists, I almost trod on a Ray! A little further out and a with a helping hand the level dropped away again.

I suppose in some ways this is an analogy of how I can feel on occasion.

The walk was spontaneous, and all the more enjoyable for that. It also brought back memories of Maldon, Cornwall and Lunan Bay.

These moments are precious and I need to be less anxious, and not over think too much and just enjoy the present.

We all visited a local pool, to relax and drank overpriced strawberry daiquiris!

We prepared dinner at the apartment, where Lis shared with us her vegetarian journey and it has spurred me on to have at least on meat free day a week.

We watched the bats 🦇 fly over to their evening stomping grounds.

<<<<<<<<<<<
peace with myself and I hope that I will be able to articulate more quickly how I feel when the fog descends.

Time flies and you find that your children have grown into sensitive, caring adults. How lucky are we. We have a few days left together until next year, so I have to make the most of that!

She said yes! 💍💕💕

For the last seven months, I’ve kept a very big secret (or not) from Georgina and family. It’s been hard, as I have wanted to tell people about the little things that have occurred over that time.

Jay choosing the right ring💍, Georgina changed her mind about style and Jay fretted about having one made, but needn’t have worried as his choice in ring, matches his choice of fiancée, beautiful in every way!

<<<<
ked Kevin’s permission a few weeks back, and Kevin almost blurted it out after a few days! Is this the same man who kept the trip from Andrew and Lis last year a secret for 5 months?

Andrew and Lis made a banner, after Jay told them, and brought bubbles of both varieties!

<<<<
as put so much thought into the event, wanting everything to be perfect for Georgina. The last few days he has been so nervous, not because he thought that Georgina would say no, but because it is such a momentous thing to do: a life changer. <<<<
gina was certain that Jay was the one for her, when she first met him, and she resolutely stuck by that. Two trips to Australia, one without Jay and one with, job changes, living with us and daily life with its nuances we arrive at their next chapter.

They are so good together and we are so proud of them as they plan their future and wish them all the love and happiness in the world.

May they remember today forever, I know I will! 🍾💕💕💕💕🤗💍💍

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.

💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💍💍💕💕💕🍾🍾

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. 

What a wonderful world….

What a weekend it’s been. We’ve certainly had fireworks in more ways than one! 

A few months ago I saw on Facebook an ad for a gin festival in Brighton and booked 4 tickets. It was for the 5th November and little did I know then that Isabella McIntosh would arrive on that day, all 9lb and 5oz! 

A real cutie who will want for nothing in life, and will be loved and doted upon. A first grandchild for Viv and Don, long awaited and I revel in their joy! Lizzie and Daniel will be wonderful parents and they will enjoy every precious moment👶🏼

There was also news of another expected arrival sometime in May 2017, after great sadness, for my cousin’s eldest daughter. Only recently have I been aware of her loss when she so eloquently and courageously wrote about it on Facebook. An honest account that no doubt shared will give others hope and the desire to carry on. She has also documented that she has had her skin inked with a beautiful tattoo as a testament to the little ones she’ll never know. 

Kevin and I arrived in Brighton and made our way with Elaine and Jane to the gin festival. We all tried a few varieties and after three hours we walked home.

It was a pleasant way to spend a cold Saturday afternoon. We enjoyed from the comfort of their home a few firework displays. 


We finished the evening by visiting a local SriLankan restaurant, returning home to catch up with strictly!

Today, after a cooked breakfast, us three girls, went for a walk. The sun was shining and we certainly blew a few cobwebs away! 


As we returned to the car I duly checked my phone and was just so thrilled to see that the couple who were best man and a bridesmaid at Andrew and Lis’s wedding got engaged!🍾💍

Steph played a huge part in introducing Andrew and Lis, and may both her and Russ enjoy this exciting next step! 

So a birth, a pregnancy revealed and an engagement-so much happiness and joy for all touched by the news of each. This is the positive side of social media! 🤗🤗🤗💕

I smelt a rat, and now the cat is out the bag……

I am quite a prolific sharer on social media, so this last week not to be able to share has been hard for me!

Five months in the planning, Kevin, Elaine and Jay and a few others had been in cahoots to pull off a wonderful surprise.

Over those last few months, Kevin has been making arrangements for some Cubans to come over. We were to wine and dine them, take them to see West Ham and I have just accepted the vague outline of everything.

Then last Friday a phone call whilst at the farm shop got me thinking that all was not what it seemed, but that was temporary as I didn’t want to feel disappointed and make the Cubans feel uncomfortable.


So I got home and Kevin opened the door and said that the Cubans were in the lounge with Jay. I looked to my left and there was Andrew and Lis on the sofa. That was when I uttered the, what will now be infamous, words, ‘I smelt a rat…..’ Tears of joy overwhelmed me and hugs then ensued. I was dumb founded, but not speechless and Jay has it all videoed.

I was told who was in on it and what the coming days plans were, and still I couldn’t believe they were here. More tears more hugs.

We then surprised Nina and Joe, more emotion, a few expletives and pure joy. Nina and I are now faced with never believing a word Kevin and Jay say again!

We readied ourselves for a meal out at Masons and it was fantastic to hear the banter, the laughter and I found myself just basking in pride and joy that we were altogether, making a new memory.


I woke up in the early hours with a big grin on my face and still overawed by the previous afternoon’s events.

Saturday and Kevin and I were to go to London and Lis and Andrew were going to watch West Ham play. We travelled on the train together, but still wanting to surprise other relatives I couldn’t post any pictures with them in.

Sunday was a trip to Brighton to surprise my parents. Another web of deceit and a journey to the Royal Oak at Poynings. 


An arduous journey home, with Andrew and Lis remaining in Brighton, didn’t dampen my good humour. More memories shared and made and fudge purchased.

The rest of the week has been littered with catching up with friends, visiting Greenwich, taking in a show, oh and work! 

Mum and Dad returned to Scotland yesterday and today we visited Kevin’s family in Surrey, surprising his sister, her family, and his mum. Unfortunately Joe was unable to join us, but I did manage a photo of all the cousins present and significant others to mark the occasion.

We have a few more days left with a couple of days out planned which I will blog about.

It has been a magical time and I can’t thank those involved enough for their efforts, their silence and the joy they have given me.

I put a brave face on sometimes, but to hear their voices, knowing they are in the lounge, having physical contact is just fantastic and I will treasure this time, safe in the knowledge that we will see them again in 2017.

😱😱😱🤗🤗😀😀😀😭😭😍😘😘