Monthly Archives: September 2014

With love to everyone at Lotte’s Kitchen

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Lotte’s Kitchen has been a favourite of ours and it’s one of those places that just the mention of results in ready, steady, present and correct! When I heard it was closed I was saddened and started writing a simple message to Lotte which turned into a poem of sorts. My apologies for probably getting all the rhyming rules wrong …..

When the cry begins with “can we go?”
I know the place they mean
They’re out the door so lighting fast
Hair brushed and shoes are clean

The journey isn’t that straightforward
But the music keeps us going
All journey long, with smiles and song
Our appetites are growing

At last we’re there
and out the car they crazily do rumble
My girls are in a jolly mood
With hungry belly grumble

The welcome is as warm as toast
And that’s the thing we love
Good customer service is a must
Lotte’s staff go over and above

The menu is then studied hard
And hungry children choose
Oh never mind the calories
There’s always time to lose

Lotte mingles with everyone
And lights the whole place up
As Laree chooses a pot of tea
And gently lifts her cup

And now I hear that it’s the end
Of a place we love to go
To Lotte and to everyone
You’re very loved you know!

Thank you lots for giving us
A special place to be
And thank you for your lovely food
And for happy cups of tea

With love from me and my girls, as well as countless others.

Thank you xxxx

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Chasing tails & herding goats

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The return to education was staggered this term with Loops starting college with odd hours, Mook & Laree going back on the Thursday and clubs not starting until the week after the first full week.

It’s taken some getting used to this academic year. I’ll be honest. There’s more planning, more work, more bags and more hanging around. Loops goes on the train and hangs around hopefully for a lift to the station, Mook had been constantly tired and Laree well quite frankly she never sits still so all in all I feel like I’m chasing my tail and herding goats.

When they were little I didn’t give much thought to how their schooldays would pan out and quite what impact it would all have on the day but now I think of nothing else! As I sat down earlier and glanced at the clock it was approaching midday, noon, 12 o’clock. That’s really not a long time, not really. Oh I can achieve great things in 3 hours but I can’t overrun. As I dropped off early that morning I thought great I’ve got an extra half an hour, in reality I probably wasted that extra half an hour by idling with my first cup of coffee.

Now all the clubs and tea invitations have started I can breathe a sigh of relief that on at least 2 days of the week my day is a bit longer and on those days I can plan my diary effectively. Less chasing tails and herding goats.

I didn’t count on Mook getting glandular fever though so I’m now at home nursing a taller than me child who wants to Cwtch up and recuperate with Mama. When she’s settled I can get on. Chasing my tail before the school day ends and I’m chasing goats. My tail. My goats.

Blackheath Seance Parlour – A review

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A friend, let’s call her Amanda Jennings, suggested I read Blackheath Seance Parlour by Alan Williams (no relation) because it’s a brilliant book and she said I’d enjoy it. I therefore mentally added it to my growing To Be Read pile.

In July I was at Shelan Rodger’s book launch where Amanda introduced me to Alan. We did some book chat and I mentioned I’d been to Hay Festival with my youngest which prompted a conversation about Wales. I said that my inlaws lived near The Brecon Mountain Railway to which Alan said he grew up near there. It transpires he grew up two roads away from Big Welsh and we knew lots of the same people and places. He later tweeted about being at a launch for a book set in Argentina yet we were discussing Merthyr Tydfil. Small world! I duly promised to read Blackheath Seance Parlour.

Which I did. On holiday in Spain which was as far removed from Blackheath as Argentina is from Merthyr. The only thing that stopped me reading it all in one go was the family that needed feeding!

What a book! What a plot. Well actually what plots as Alan has weaved in two plots which makes the book an exceedingly bonkers read, but a bloody good read. You really need to read it yourself to get what I mean!!

Two drunk sisters have decided that their chocolate business is failing and needs saving so they turn it into The Blackheath Seance Parlour incurring the wrath of many and gaining notoriety like nothing seen in Blackheath. Meanwhile the Count and Countess cause quite a stir but their hidden life couldn’t be more bizarre and bonkers. At times it was a gruesome read but oh so readable. I read it at times thinking more than once “oh crikey” often with my mouth wide open and trying hard not to memorise the scenes.

I really enjoyed the book and like many titles from Cutting Edge Press it stayed with me long after I’d finished reading it. So much so that I now look up above if I’m going to sit under a tree. When you’ve read it you’ll understand!

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SMART and Sacha

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I’ve been chatting to my friend Sacha Langton-Gilks. Do you know her? Oh she’s great!! Her son DD died from a brain tumour and she’s the Lead Champion for HeadSmart’s campaign for earlier diagnosis of children’s brain tumours. She’s recently started a petition and I’d be really grateful if you could sign it:-

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/the-headsmart-campaign-for-the-earlier-diagnosis-of-children-s-brain-tumours?source=twitter-share-button

You might have seen articles about her, like this one by Amanda Foreman or this one or this recent one.

I’ve not known Sacha long but when we met something clicked and we hit it off which is one of the reasons I’m keen to help her and promote the HeadSmart campaign after a friend died from a brain tumour, and being a mother myself I’d like to know the symptoms.

Furthermore she is keen to promote Text SMART to 81400, all you do is text SMART to 81400 and you get sent a text like this:-

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Sacha can be found on Twitter @SachaLG and Facebook.

Let’s all work together on this.

Please.

Feathers from Heaven

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On my daily early morning dog walks I’ve noticed a bright white feather falling slowly and silently in front of me.
Oh yes of course there would be feathers in the woods where the birds nest high in the trees but how many white birds live in the woods high in the trees and drop pure white feathers? After a few days I began to expect a feather to fall.

One morning I wasn’t thinking of feathers, I was remembering my friend Charch who died in April from a brain tumour. A feather dropped and I cried big fat tears. Of course, I recalled the significance of white feathers and Angels; Charch knew she was in my thoughts. She’d slipped me a note (written using a Sailor pen, on Hunky Dory paper with SWALK on the back) to say I know you’re thinking of me.

One of the many conversations we shared was about her dying and she said that she wouldn’t be able to nip back and tell us what her new place was like. Having lived together for years at boarding school it was like she was going to a new dormitory and couldn’t tell us about it. I’ve recently spoken to her mum who is half expecting her to walk through the door from one of her travels or send a postcard.

Oh Charch you crazy girl of course I’ll ring your mum today and tell her you’re OK, that you’ve bagsied the best bed in the dormitory, your new place is full of familiar faces and that you’re safe, happy and well.

And Charch, thanks for the Feathers from Heaven. X

 

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There’s something so cosy and romantic about a fire, it sums up colder weather and is an ever changing display of dancing flames and colours.

In our childhood home we had night storage heaters and an open fire, the house was always cosy unless the electricity had been knocked out by the Canada Geese contingency and when that happened it was just the roaring sitting room fire that was cosy.  Granny lived in a draughty and massive old house that had fireplaces we could stand in whilst our Grandparents had a pokey which was a gas lighter on a long lead so we’ve always had a home fire burning!

We’ve got a fireplace in our house and we used to have fabulous fires but after some chimney damage we are going to be switching to a wood burner and I’m not the only one who can’t wait. The dog, known for his creature comforts likes nothing better than sitting infront of the fire and when he gets too hot he moves, only to return again.

 

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Of course a good fire is all about the preparation and I get twitchy watching people light fires. Each morning I clear out the ash pan, sweep around the fireplace and lay the fire with kindle sticks, light the kindle cones and some logs to get it going. After which I’ll add on more logs and coal and throw another log on the fire when it needs it.

A Uni friend of my brother was staying and offered to cut up the morning sticks one morning, we all looked at him as if he was bonkers and asked what morning sticks were. He said that they’re the little bits of wood you cut up in the morning for your fire. Of course! Kindling!! We use a few bits of kindling but we also use Hunter Gatherer’s Kindle Cones which are scented with cinnamon and you don’t have that firelighter smell on your fingers! Lighting the kindle cones is of course a grown up job, at Granny’s there was a jar with long matches which I always loved and never touched, that’s why the Long Matches from Ella’s Kitchen Company are ideal!

When the fire is roaring there is really nothing better than a steaming mug of tea and a crumpet whilst curled up on the sofa with a good book or a great film.

 

Musical memories and meanings

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people stumble into your life and either stay with you or slope off

I’m often asked how do you know such and such, how did you meet this person and do you still see that person which always makes me smile and takes my mind back to when we did actually first meet. I’m a very sociable person and communication is important to me. Being away at boarding school I kept in touch with my home friends during term time ad my school friends during holidays by writing letters and phone calls. Now we’ve all grown up we keep in touch by text, social media, phone and still by writing letters.

Sometimes I see something or hear a song and I think of those friends associated with it prompting me to get in touch. I like that as shared memories are special and sometimes distance and life get in the way.

Here’s just a tiny selection of musical memories and their meanings ….

Do they know it’s Christmas was everywhere in 1984, hearing that I am 15 again.

I know him so well was playing one Bonfire night at Zee’s and we started singing it, Jimmy (Scottish and hilarious) said oh that’s the anthem of the upper classed twits.

High by the Lighthouse Family was on the radio when I was in labour with Loops.

The man who sold the world by David Bowie was on constant play in the car when we were in Australia for 6 weeks, Loops was 4 and Mook was nearly 2. They are word perfect.

Don’t let it show by The Alan Parsons Project, when a situation was getting to me and the best advice given to me was not to let it show.

All out of love by Air Supply was much played during my teens and then sung drunkenly and tearfully by Foe and myself very early in the morning of Charch’s memorial.

Dambusters was the tune to one of our school hymns, every summer at the end of year service it would be the cue to cry and hug your friends dearly. We had it our wedding which raised a few laughs!

What would your musical memories be?