Friday, December 12, 2014

This week I have been reminded that;

Sweeping leaves up on a windy day is pretty near impossible

Even the tinsiest drop of surplus water will make mixing icing sugar pretty impossible. Hence the use of a whole box of icing sugar and lots of stirring.

Buying enough cream cakes for the family becomes very unhealthy when you end up eating more than one just because the date is running out.

How powerful book four,in the Harry Potter series,is. Wow! It's been brilliant! And the last two chapters that we have read were incredible. The amount of detail and the twists and turns of the plot had us both spellbound.
 We were wowed.
Unbelievably I had forgotten some of the plot too! I truly did not know what was coming and that was good in way and funny in another,because how could I have forgot something like that...? This brings me to say....write it down folks,write those memories down any way you care to,be it a blog,a diary,a old scrappy notebook,because memories do fade and we can forget stuff quite easily,even of we think we never will.

Having a project deadline anytime in December is going to be stressful. How can you think about Christmas when you are researching Hitler and Messerschmitts.
 Yep,I can spell Messerschmitt without even looking if up #proud

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Christmas Fair
The dear old school Christmas fair.

So crowded and squashy and hot.

For adults a place of trauma.

For children a place of joy.

Sweet stalls full of pick and mix.

Games to play.

And teachers dressed up as Santa,handing out chocolate.

What's not to like!

For me the best bits were;

The homemade mince pies made by Sally the cook.

Seeing old familiar faces and mouthing ''Hello'' across the crowded hall.

The choir singing sweetly as we entered the school.

The smiles of the teachers as they manned the stalls,they probably just wanted to get home after a full day at work but they were so cheerful and the children loved seeing them selling the yummy scrummy Christmassy stuff.

After the initial mad rush of people had died away it became easily to maneuver around the hall and I had a look at the trophy cabinet and saw Chips name on the wall where all the children awarded the Maths Wizard award were written. I also saw his year five class photo up on display. I always like going into junior school,it has a nice atmosphere and the children are always so polite and friendly.

It was probably more poignant this year because it was the last junior school Christmas Fair that I would be going to.

Yes,after many years of attending events like this.the end is nigh.

This is Chips last year at juniors.

Year six.

Next year comprehensive school beckons.

And I have no more boys to go to junior school or Infant school or nursery.

All my boys are growing up.


As children do.

Hola Hum.

Time to remember the promise I made to myself a long,long time ago.

"Be happy with this amazing chance to do all the stuff you love again. Don't look back and be sad because he is your last child,be grateful that you have got the special gift of a third child."

As with lots of wise words,they are easier said than done.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Been wanting to write something for ages. Each day I think to myself that after I have put Chips to bed I will sit down and write a blog post.

Eight o'clock comes....I sit down,and I'm absolutely too tired. I fall to sleep or I just sit there in a semi comatose state. Needless to say,no blog post gets written.

So tonight I'm just going to go for it and write about whatever comes into my head,with a view to posting it goes...

It's nearly Christmas,well it's nearly December,this means a few things.

1. It's my biggest boys birthday in three weeks! Always something to make me smile. I adore having a Christmas baby,well maybe I should rephrase that to I adore having a son with a birthday at Christmas,maybe that's a post in itself. But to me he will always be a Christmas baby,even though he's six feet tall and 22 years old this can that be....a case of blink your eye I guess. My mum was smiling about that fact this week. It kind of wows us all.

2. I work in a school so Christmas is busy but great too! The children's excitement about Santa is contagious,there is music constantly throughout the day as the children practice their concert songs and there is always chocolate in the staff room....say no more.

3. My middle son breaks up from uni soon!!!! *starts to squeal quite loudly* I can't quite comprehend that he will be at home for a month. This is huge for me. My boy is back. Well nearly.

We are still plodding our way through Harry Potter. 3/4s of the way through book four,getting to the bit where all the questions begin to get answered. We are still loving it and I can see us carrying on to book five when we have finished this one.

So,a few reasons to be smiley.


Well this didn't get posted the next day!

Five days later and still this post is kicking around in the drafts section,with all the same above reasons for not getting posted.

Maybe I shall really,really get my act together and post this up tonight.


We will see!


Third time lucky! 

Posting right now! 

Just a week late!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sometimes,when the two older boys were smaller,we used to go to Blackpool during the October half term break. We would spend a couple of days there doing the whole touristy thing.....visiting the pleasure beach,going up Blackpool tower and of course looking at the illuminations.

Now,both these boys are growing up. One is at work and does not get half term off and the other one is at uni and does not get half term off either.

I thought it might be fun to reminisce about the old days at Blackpool,so I have been casting my mind back trying to conjure up some seasidy memories. The funny thing is that what I remember most is the weather! I find that really sad! How can that be my first memory to come to mind when I think about Blackpool in October half term week. Honestly though that is my strongest memory! I remember wrapping up tight in big coats and gloves and hats and still getting battered by the wind. Because it was further up north the air would be colder and because it was near the coast the wind would be more blustery.One of my firmest memories is the day it was blowing a gale outside but we decided that we would brave it and get the boys out,because,you know,two little boys stuck in a small boarding house is never ideal. It was SO windy that the door would hardly open and we were literally blown down the front. The boys could hardly stay on their feet. The wind was nearly lifting them off the ground! I don't think we lasted long out there that day but hey it left a lasting memory for me!

We would visit the tower and I've been smiling at the boy who used to get to the top of the tower and show such defiance on the walk of death (which is a transparent piece of glass that you can walk over and see all the way down to the ground below) was he scared,not likely,he would jump gleefully on the glass with a Im not scared look upon his face.

In the boarding house we would eat yummy full English breakfasts and warm home cooked meals at night. Delicious soups and all things good. Mmmm. And I recall there was a snooker table that one of the boys used to have a go on. There was also a cat that used to lurk around and the boys would love to spot this cat and stroke it.

We would stay up the north side of Blackpool and travel to the other attractions by either tram or by foot- it was a bloomin long walk down the front in the bracing sea air!

I think the boys favourite thing about Blackpool was the pleasure beach. And we would spend lots of time looking at the big roller coasters and playing on the slot machines. One boy loved roller coasters and one boy was not as keen. One little boy just couldn't wait to be tall enough to ride on the biggest roller coaster of all and eventually,after many years of growing,he did just that and came off smiling and not at all scared or shaken,roller coaster king that kid,never found a roller coaster yet that bothered him!
That's the little boy I sat feeding on a bench amidst the chaos and noise when he was only about seven weeks old. His daddy and brother would have been enjoying the rides and he lay cuddled up with his mummy slurping milk. We bought him a bib,a little bib with baby blue writing on it which read

"When I grow up I'm going to ride on roller coasters like my mummy and daddy"
I found a photo of the baby in the bib!

Little did we know then how true those words would become!

I'm glad I have given some thought to Blackpool because that last memory is such a precious one. I can remember being that young mum of two boys and how happy I was sat feeding my baby whilst all around me was noise. That baby,who had only probably just been named,and me were so happy,it was a feeling of peace and even then I knew it was a special moment. Also it was the last week before my eldest son started nursery. So the time we spent together there was poignant as he was soon to begin another big stage of his life. First becoming a big brother,then off to nursery school.

So cold,blustery Blackpool,I do remember you for lots of reasons.....not just your weather! 
What is he thinking about?
The Boys

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Last October half term I wrote this post about a family day out visiting the city.

Never,in my wildest dreams did I think that a year later my boy would be living in that city and be at university.

But he is and today we are going to visit him!

Chips is beside himself with excitement!

"I'm wishing my hours away," he said,as I tucked him up in bed last night, "so it can be morning time and we can go to see Sharky"

I was looking forward to it too. But I did not wish my sleep away....that's one thing grown ups never do!

So let's see what the day brings and whether or not we find him,in that great big city where he now dwells!

Well the day brought lots of smiles. We went for something to eat as soon as we arrived and then had a wander around the shops.

We read stories snuggled up on a Waterstones big squashy sofa and then went to the slowest cafe in the world and enjoyed a cuppa and a chat.

A really sweet Halloween story.
And that was possibly the best bit. Away from the bustle of the shops and the crowds of people.

Sat around a little round table,cup of tea to slurp and time to chat.

I want to remember that feeling because it was good. Easy going chatter,something that we do well.

Hooray for the slowest cafe in the world!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

List Love
I had been contemplating meal planning for a while.
Anything to make life easier and to help me reach the holy grail - organisation.

So early one morning,when it was dark outside and all was quiet inside,I began a list.

A list of all our usual meals,in the hope that I could create some kind of rota that made meal planning more feasible and not just every day of every week ending up with the same old meals.

I left my notepad out on the kitchen unit and got on with the 
usual school run/work stuff.
You know what mornings are like...busy.

As I got ready upstairs I could sense that Chips was not in the lounge.

''Where are you?'' I yelled down the stairs.

''In the kitchen,'' he replied.

''Keep getting ready,'' I yelped.

You have to use a big voice when you are upstairs
and your child is downstairs
a whisper just isn't going to achieve anything at all.

Five minutes later I rushed into the kitchen,bags flying everywhere,
tissues stuffed hastily into trouser pockets and the hairbrush being 
waved around like a lethal weapon.
I saw Chips hovering around my list but I did not think too much about it.
All that I wanted was for us to get out of the door as quickly as possible.

The morning passed in its usual blur.
Plenty of things to do.
Plenty of thoughts zooming around my head.

I got home and started to think what was next on the hit list and that was when I looked on my list and saw it.

There in very faint writing was a message from Chips.

And it said


Well that was it,Im not ashamed to say it brought a tear to my eye.

That little boy had found time to write me a note.

And what a sweet note it was.   

Very faint writing.

Very simple words.

Very powerful effect on a rushy,stressed out Mummy.

Thank you sweet Chips for caring so much.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Saturday Swimming
We were so concerned about Saturday swimming.

Goodness knows why.

Because it turned out to be the best lot of swim lessons ever!

At the time we did not know that though.

As they say,hindsight is a wonderful thing.

There was the fact that the lessons would be with a new teacher.

And queries about doing widths instead of lengths.

And we thought it would make Saturday rushed and who wants a rushy Saturday, when all the week is lived at breakneck speed,you don't want to make a precious weekend day too rushed as well.

We had also just had the worst set of swim lessons that we had ever had.

The move to the big pool had been harder than anyone had expected. Painfully hard. So bearing all this in mind,we approached Saturday swim lessons with caution. As we ate our Saturday breakfast we discussed what the lessons may entail. We had a lot of questions and only one way to find the answers out....go to the first lesson and see what happened.

We were very early for the first lesson but our first surprise was that it was not a new teacher at all,it was Jenny,our very first swim teacher! And because she knew us well and we were very early,she said we could join the two o'clock class.

There were not many children at all in the 2pm class and it was a different feel altogether than the Friday night class. It was SO peaceful. Just a handful of children,maybe four or five in the bottom end of the large competition pool. The space the children had was unbelievable and the noise level was was blissful. At the end of the lesson I remarked to Jenny about how great it was and she grinned and told me that in Chips proper class there would only be three children altogether,I started to feel that this move to Saturday swimming was going to be a very good move.

And it was.

For the first time ever I felt pretty peaceful at swimming lessons and I think the children felt peaceful too because they swam hard and learnt so many little things that they might not have done within a class of twelve.

They had a go at diving into the deep end. This was a bit ouchy as when you fall into water at speed but without control it can hurt and produce some red sore skin! But at least they had a go.
They were taken to the deep end numerous times to jump in and I can still picture their little excited faces as they leapt into the pool and swam 25 metres to the shallow end.
They did push and glide and all sorts of little swim techniques and quite simply they got such personalised attention that it brought their swimming on no end.

For most of the ten swimming sessions there were only two children in the whole of the competition pool! I guess that speaks for itself,especially if you have ever seen how busy that pool can sometimes get.
Once the swimming baths had a difficulty with the chlorine levels in the small pool and the fun pool but the competition pool was ok so Chips and Cory were the only two children swimming in the whole of the leisure centre! That was just unbelievable too! Like virtually having the whole pool to themselves!

After such a terrible time in the last lot of swim lessons,this was pure bliss. It completely turned Chips attitude around. Gone was the little boy who intensely disliked swim lessons and in his place was a smiley boy who was confident once more and as for the swimming....well both little boys achieved their 50 metre badge this time. I don't think they had ever swam as much to be honest! With just two children to watch and teach,the teachers got them swimming continuously and it did bring their swimming skills on and give the boys more stamina.

So,Saturday swimming is going to stay for us for a while,the very day we did not want to go swim lessons has been the very day that is best!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Splashy Week
Its been a rainy old week.
We have spent lots of time at school doing 
our activities and listening  to the sound of the rain on the canopy. 
I always find the sound of rain soothing and I like playing outside
so its been nice to do both things and stay dry!
Its not often we can do this and the children were quite bemused 
to be allowed outside in rainy weather.
School runs were soggy and it turned cold enough for the heating to be put on for the first time
since Spring.

The evenings were spent ploughing through Harry Potter.
We are on book three now.
Harry has met the Dementors and Sirius Black is on the loose.
Chips remains enthralled by this book
and so do I!
Reading stories has to be one of my favourite things about being a parent.
So many good stories to share!

I began to think about meal planning.
Whether that happens remains to be seen.
I think that it would be a good thing to do.
Its just that life seems to throw up things that make sticking to meal plans
rather hard for me.
Maybe I should just give it a go.

My favourite songs of the week have been Tom Odells Another Love ans Ed Sheerans Photograph.
These two songs have kept me company through many dark nights.

The uni kid is back for the weekend.
He's piled his dirty washing on the sofa and never has a pile of dirty washing been so fondly gazed at!
Unless you count the way that I smile at the red footy shirts.
My boys....even their dirty washing makes me smile!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

School News #2 and #3
Week two began very sunnily with one of our warmest days this September.

We had to take Ben and Jerry back so it was all systems go as the Monday morning school run included two guinea pigs today! We were very sad to see these two little cuties go back to their home,me probably the most! I honestly really miss these little chaps,funny how you can get attached to animals in such a short space of time. Even ones that wee all over you!

The main excitement of the week was that Chips came home proudly wearing a monitor badge! His job was to warn the teachers in the staff room that it was two minutes to the end of playtime and to also check around the classrooms and turn any lights off that had been left on.
It was quite a responsibility to keep that badge safe but we did it well and we were both quite sad to see it go at the end of the week.

Spellings started up again! More to learn than last year and harder too. We have been practicing for nearly two weeks now,the test is tomorrow,so we shall see what results Chips gets. I predict he gets quite a few right. We will have to see.

Oh and homework started again too. Different days but same format - one week a literacy piece and the following week a numeracy piece. We are about to do the literacy piece today....deep joy.
It's about a witch though so if the subject is interesting it may make the work pass easier.

Chips has been talking about World War 2 and he has taken a lot of information in. There is nothing like a in depth conversation about Hitler and the holocaust at 7.30 on a weekday morning!

Week three saw the beginning of DARE. For those of you who do not know about DARE it stands for Drugs Awareness Resistance and it's all about teaching the children about the harmful effects of drugs etc. All year six children take part in this program and it has been running for years as Chips brothers did it too. Chips was very excited to begin DARE and as with everything in year six he has took it very seriously. I do detect that Chips is definitely becoming more responsible these days,he is really enjoying year six and it is bringing out the best in him.

The weather was grey most of the week,very foggy and damp,not nice at all. And some children even insisted on wearing just their polo shirts to walk to school in.....wonder who that could be!

Reading was going well. Chips had some great comments in his reading log and a fair few stickers.

On Monday it was a whole school dressing up day on the theme of The Lion,The Witch and The Wardrobe. Chips went as a snowy traveler in a woolly hat,gloves,scarf etc. He looked very cheerful as he trotted off to school dressed as snug as bug and he came back gone saying just how much writing he had managed to do. This was the aim of the dressing encourage story writing. It seemed like it had worked.

The week ended on a happy note as Chips got accepted in the after school footy club. He really enjoys this club and was very pleased to be going back for another year of running around the school field every Friday night.

It was a good way to end week three.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Shoe Laces
I had no intention of trying to teach Chips to tie his laces in a short time frame. It's simply not my style. Usually we take our time over issues like this. We don't fuss. We don't pressure. We just give ourselves plenty of time and we don't stress if it takes forever to reach a result. This is our way.

So when I bought the school trainers I knew that I was entering unfamiliar territory. They were lovely. Black with bright green trim and bright green laces. Oops....did I say laces.....yes I did. But Chips can't tie laces yet.....ahh that was the problem.

But it was getting late in the day and we had been walking around town for what seemed like forever and there was not many days left to sort the school uniform thingy out,the days of summer were zipping away quickly,so what was I to do? Go home without the trainers and then have to find my way to another shoe shop on a day that didn't exist or buy the trainers and teach Chips how to tie his shoe laces before school started.....

I bought the trainers and said a silent prayer.

We started to try and do the laces that very night. We only had five days to master this skill and we were working from scratch. I was tired after being out all day,Chips was tired from being out all day. Iam left handed and find it hard to teach a successful right handed way,my methods tend to be a jumbled up mix of everything so it was not surprising that we did not make much headway that night.

The next day was Saturday and as we ate our regular Saturday morning Morrisons scrummy breakfast we discussed the scenario with my mum and dad.

Chips excitedly told them how happy he was to have these new trainers and how he had to learn to tie laces in four days and I,with a pained expression on my face told them that yes this was true and what an earth was we going to do.

They understood completely.

When we got back from shopping my mum had a quick go at talking Chips through the rudimentals of lace tying. He listened and tried. But it was not clicking with him at all. We had mastered the knot bit but the loops....sigh....the loops were tricky.

We struggled on throughout the day,trying,getting stuck at the loops and then trying again.

Sunday dawned and my dad had a go at the teaching lark. Only three days were left now,the stakes were getting higher and a slight feel of panic was beginning to form in my tummy.

My dad was ultra patient and the progress was visible. Still a long way to go but Chips was beginning to get the hang of the loops and I could see an improvement from Friday.

We smiled because it became apparent that my dad had also taught me to tie laces. We still tie them pretty similar to each other. And my mum talked about how she gave my dad the job of teaching me to tie because he was much more patient at that kind of thing than she was. Looking at the time and effort he spent with Chips,I can see that he still is.

Well my dad tried and progress was being made but then Sharky took over.
And blow me down he taught Chips to do his laces!
He used the most new fangled method ever,which he utubed up but after much patient teaching,Chips finally learnt how to do his laces.

And I sat and watched them. Amazed at Chips new life skill and happy to see two brothers working together.
Special times and memories to keep.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

 School News #1
So school has started again. Me being me was not happy to see Chips start back school,I much prefer him being at home but school time it was and he has settled brilliantly into year six. His new teacher seems nice,he is revelling in being a year six and all the prestige that brings - top dogs - oldest in the school.

Already he has done a maths test and a sixty two word spelling test so I think they have hit the ground running and are pretty focused in that class. He has mentioned doing DARE and after that,apparently it's the Christmas concert looming,it appears to me that his teacher is ultra organised and passing that on to her class.

He was happy today to have a long chat with his year five teacher and I'm glad to see that relationship still continue as they seemed to get along really well last year.

It's all change at the end of the day though as his friend that we used to walk home with has started to walk home by himself. This has changed the dynamics for everybody,me included. No more laughs as we wait for the boys and no more chatter as we all walk home. It feels different.

I do sense the winds of change coming. Last years year sixes were proudly showing their new blazers off on the school yard this afternoon. Lots of people are talking about comp and children are beginning to want more and more independence,meaning many parents are being banished further and further up the school drive. I love doing the school run and intend to stay on my playground spot as long as I can,this is my last boy in primary school and I'm making the most of my time being a school run mum.

It's been mainly a sunny start back to school,no costs or umbrellas needed,yet. Just pleasant enough to walk there in jumpers or even tee shirts. We have yet to see the Indian summer that was promised us though....maybe next week!

I glimpsed a special moment today as I glanced out of the school window and saw Chips walking round to his classroom tucked in tightly amongst a group of boys. They were all chattering away about something,probably the Xbox! It was so lovely to see though and it made me smile.

One week already flown by!
eating his mums leftover toast on the way to school!

Friday, September 5, 2014

The school holidays.....I have adored the school holidays up to yet. Been nowhere glamorous but these people around me have given me plenty to smile at and many memories to tuck away in my pocket to take out when a smile and a warm cosy memory is needed. So without further ado I give you the school holiday news

We have read,read,read and then read some more. This is 'no' exaggeration. Feeling down - lets read. Woke up to early - lets read. Nothing to do - lets read. Got brilliant new books - lets read. It's raining outside - lets read. Want to beat Mummy and catch up with what page she is on - lets read. I'm on my third book of the summer,Chips is on his zillionth. This is how we roll....we read,through good and bad,rain and shine,inside and outdoors,we read.

We have walked too. Past fields with poppies and parks full of wildflowers.
flowers that children from our village planted
We have done trails and meandered along the sides of train tracks and flowing rivers.

Sometimes we have walked without knowing where we were going to end up! One of those days we stopped by a lay by and found some big muddy puddles. Chips found great fun and satisfaction throwing stones into the puddles,the bigger the stone the better. On this afternoon the sky was blue and the countryside around us was beautiful,just a short distance from home and it was so pretty. We came home happy.

The urge to blast a football has been seen if not daily then enough to be a constant in our lives. If the ball has not been kicked then its been thrown or bounced. Be it a football or a tennis ball or even a teeny tiny bouncy ball,a ball has played its part these holidays. There has been catch on the beach,football on the fields and the patio and bouncy/tennis ball games in the kitchen. These are often loud and can shatter any sane persons sense of peace and also any light fitting that comes in contact with a ball...yep I'm looking at you son,you know Iam! And now I'm looking at the said lamp,that now stands with just it's bulb showing,a beautiful look for our lounge.... one minute was all it took,a quick goodbye to my parents and then the look on your face as you sat on the sofa holding the shattered lamp in your hand...even then you grinned....did you not think I would react badly and yell....I guess you know me to well. And I have been a mum of boys for over twenty one years now.

We went to the seaside for a day. When you only get one day at the seaside you have to grab it with both hands and get the most out of every second you have,you don't have a second to waste. And that's what the boys did. They played on the beach under grey skies and the growl of thunder which eventually turned into torrential rain and one hell of a thunderstorm on our way back home. Young Chips went into the murky sea and embraced it totally,splashing around with abandon and not a care in the world.
There was the most ferocious game of catch on the beach which made me smile,people in this family throw hard,always have done and it seems that given the chance they still do.

Talking of ferocious,there was a very competitive game of air hockey and I was ever so squeakily pleased when I beat my middle boy,goodness knows how it happened but it did' happen and I have a claim to family fame and I'm holding it aloft and making the most of the rare occasion when I beat one of the boys.
We spent the whole afternoon ensconced in the amusement arcades either playing air hockey or pushing two pence pieces into a machine to win a little plastic minion. This became a battle of wills between me and Chips and the machine. Put it this way,there was no chance that we were going to leave without that minion,we made a stand and that minion was going to be ours. We therefore pushed quite a lot of 2ps in the machine! Sharky could not quite bear our determination to rescue the minion and make him ours but we needed that little guy and if these 2ps were keeping Chips amused on a wet soggy seaside afternoon I was not going to stop the game. So we stood pushing those pennies in,getting faster as we went and more determined or should that word be 'desperate' to win the minion. In the end it was Sharky who did it! He was also getting desperate!So he strolled up,put probably a couple of pennies in and hey presto the minion dropped from the machine and was freed by the kiosk man,as after all that time, the little guy got stuck in the bottom of the machine and couldn't quite make his dash to freedom without a bit of help! Anyway,in the end we did get him and he has been cherished ever since.
We ended the day with a wet and soggy walk to a seaside chip shop and had seaside chips. Nothing nicer than seaside chips. It was a good day.
a very wet seaside!
Trains seem to have a played their part these holidays. Either by going on them,watching them or walking along and finding their tracks. Chips is quite interested in the whole train scenario and so we have played to this interest and spent a lot of time near trains. Last year we seemed to be constantly finding rivers,this year it's been trains.

There has been celebrations - birthdays galore and exam success too. University beckons and a whole change in family dynamics is on the horizon,the thought of how did 18 years go by so quickly is firmly stuck in my head these days,not in a bad way,just in a pretty amazed kind of how way. Time flies....

Come and gone in a flash these school holidays,guess its time to pack the shorts away and get the school uniforms out....

*tucks away the best bits of the holidays in her pocket and smiles,let the memories live on in my heart*
one of my very favourite photographs of the holidays

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Stripy Red Shirts
I've been thinking about the seaside recently and especially about a certain part of Newquay.

The part next to the arcades,on the main street,nestled in between the chip shop and the fudge shop. Is it any coincidence that I remember those two icons of Newquay,probably not,knowing my peckish nature. I do remember other things on that street,like the surf shops,it's just that I hold the fudge shop dear inside my memory,well it did sell the yummiest fudge ever!

If you stood,on that part of the street and looked across it,there was a steep tiny hill. Walking down that hill to your right hand side were the backs of the hotels where we stayed when the boys were very young,very busy places and not that pretty. But if you kept on walking down the steep hill there was a bench and a view. A view of the sea. The beautiful Newquay coastline. Further down the hill is the harbour,with it's fishing boats and small beach. Sometimes there would be a seal that visited the harbour,that would be a extra special treat for us to see,a real live seal always made for a wow kind of moment. We used to sometimes play on that small beach,not often but enough for me to have a memory of small boys with golden hair,in red and white stripy tee shirts playing on the sand while their mummy took many,many photographs.

So down that path lay magic.

At the top of the road the smell of fish and chips would be in the air and mixed with the salty sea air it was pure seaside heaven.

And that's what I'm remembering and thinking about.

The piece of pavement where you turn and see the hill....the hill that leads to the sea.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Picnic Day
"How are you going to get them to work after this?" I asked the teacher.

With a big smile on their face the teacher admitted that they were not quite sure!

It had been a day of fun for the whole school. The fundraising committee had decided that the children could have a treat and they had organised go karts and laser tag activities and to top it off it was the whole school picnic day,where all the school had their lunches on the school field and their parents,sisters,brothers,grandparents could come and picnic along with them.

When I arrived the field was a blaze of colour and movement. Picnic blankets were spread out everywhere and children darted about excitedly.

There is something comforting about a picnic,it's so nice to sit on a blanket under a tree,with your friends and eat yummy food.

And that's what we did.

Sat and munched our lunch with our family and friends. Food was shared round,some of us ate our picnic backwards - chocolate fingers before any savoury stuff,we compared freezer packs,we watched babies crawl around exploring grass for the first time,toddlers who had just mastered the art of walking and were now finding out what a big world it is out there,even in all the noise and hustle bustle there was a sense of peace,the children were so motivated and happy that I heard no squabbles at all.

Chips and his friend waited patiently in the que for the go karts that were whizzing around the playground. I wonder what they were thinking as they stood and watched those super fast go karts,it looked like they were deep in thought as they stood shoulder to shoulder talking away and occasionally pointing something out.

Their turn eventually came round and there were really big smiles on their faces as they negotiated the go karts around the track

In fact there were smiles on everybody's faces that afternoon - the kids smiled,the teachers smiled,the parents smiled,even the dinner ladies managed a smile and it must have been ultra stressful for them supervising the children with all that commotion going on! It was a smiley afternoon. And when you get a smiley afternoon it's good to save the memory,hence this blog post....

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Drinking tea under the trees,watching the boys play...for me this is such a state of utter blissness. It just doesn't get much better. Tea...trees and boys playing..,,perfect.

It was a rainy old day and a bit chill but nobody seemed to care.

Sharky ran around with the ball,blasting it as high as high could be. That ball got such a kicking today,I bet it's sore now!

Chips clambered up,down,through and along the vast wooden trim trail. He negotiated steps,tunnels,rope nets and slides and jumped off platforms and balanced across fallen trees with a real sense of balance.

I sat with a warm cup of tea in my hands and just watched the scene play out.

I don't think I could ever get fed up with watching my boys together,not ever. I love to see them play and interact. They are all so different and I love that too.

And I love woods and trees and cones and stones. We came back with a bag of treasures that I have transferred to my collection of natural stuff that I keep outside.

Just a quick blast of a trip but one that has left us feeling warm and cosy. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The big pool is noisy. Much noisier than I expected it to be. All it's lanes are full and there is a swim club that trains at the far end,these people make a tremendous amount of noise as they set off together searching for their best time ever or the perfect stroke that will make them go even more supersonically fast. It's good to watch these guys swim,they move in synchronisation,like a school of dolphins swimming together but boy do they make some noise.

So it's not quite the quiet oasis of a pool that I had envisaged. Not at all.

It is big though. The actual pool is huge. The water seems to stretch out in front of us when we walk in the room,a sea of deep blue water. The seating is treble,no it's loads more than the few silver chairs that we used to quickly dive to when Chips was in the small pool. Now we have a choice of where to sit,near the shallow end or up near the deep end and we usually chose to sit smack in the middle on the bottom row,not sure how my lovely leg would negotiate climbing up the steep array of steps that some people seem to hop,skip and jump along like gazelles. I'm definitely not a gazelle.

In the far corner of the room there is a big window,the glass is not clear but you can see through it and it overlooks a park. On a sunny night you can look out the window and gaze at trees and blue skies,it's a pretty view.

And that is how the big pool seems to me. A busy,noisy,exciting place,a place where new challenges await.

It's not been a easy transition from the small pool to the big pool. It's taken every ounce of strength that Chips had got. Literally. He is swimming much further than he had ever done before and there's no putting feet down and walking a bit anymore. It tires him and sometimes frustrates him but in just four weeks we can all see a difference beginning to creep in.

"Stamina!" said his swim teacher last night.

So thats what you need Chips - stamina and a good attitude that pushes you through the frustration of not having the strength to kick as fast as you need too. If you keep this up you will develop both these skills,so let's keep trying,I know you can do it.

Halfway through tonight's lesson you swam right up to the deep end,climbed out and stood waiting for your turn to jump. It was your first time ever to jump into the deep end. In fact it was your first time ever to even swim in the deep water. My heart was in my mouth. I knew you could do the jump,me being me I was more concerned about you slipping on the wet tiles as you had to climb up a step and then jump. But you climbed the step and stood waiting for Diane to tell you to jump.

And you did.

Jumped beautifully into the pool and sank right down to the bottom of the pool. It seemed a long time before you popped back up to the surface and then began to swim on your back down to the shallow end.

My dad and I were so proud of you. It was brilliant to see. What a achievement and it meant so much to you. I think your confidence more than doubled on the spot.

Our smiles were big that night as you showered and got ready to go home.

And the final words are yours....

"I really enjoyed swimming tonight."

Say no more.... as no more words are needed.

Monday, June 16, 2014

 Down In The Trees
A boy and his shadow were playing with a ball.
Deep in the woods where the trees grow tall.
Under the canopy of thousands of leaves
Time goes slow
And so does the breeze.

It's oh so quiet
And oh so still
As you trail along paths
And meander down hills.

 Even,the ball, rolls pretty slow.
No need to rush.
Nowhere special to go.
They tiptoed through nettles,
Swung under a fence.
Getting lost and then found,
Down where the trees were dense.

And a mother smiled
As she watched them play,
Down in the woods,
On a warm Spring day.