Sunday, 29 December 2019

Loss :: Birthday :: Christmas

Exactly one week ago today (22nd December) my Dad in law passed away peacefully at home with his family around him.  Poor Dad has spent most of his adult years suffering with one major ailment and then over the last few years other problems had arisen.  These past few months had been particularly difficult and around six weeks ago I mentioned to Mum that Dad seemed to have lost the will to live.  Despite my comment though, no one had expected the end to come so quickly for in a matter of days he deteriorated very rapidly.  As you can imagine the past few days have been a bit of a blur but we are all working together adding our own thoughts and helping Mum to plan a funeral that reflects Dad's character and interests.

Dear Dad, May you rest in peace and rise in glory xx 


On Monday 23rd December Pip turned eleven years old.  We managed our usual birthday photo at 8:38 am followed by a quiz whereby Pip had to solve a riddle to earn part two of her present.  I had fun composing the riddle in the previous week and had hoped to organise a scavenger hunt but that wasn't meant to be:

A Birthday Riddle

It doesn't matter if its left or right
and Cristiano is the dude in the frame.
With no hands allowed and a clever hat trick
It's skill that's the name of the game.

You need to watch your step
as I'm more lost than rather found,
I might be a bit of a light weight
but I have no issues spinning around!

What am I?

After some pondering she worked it out ... a much needed football since the previous one had aquired a hole!  We also bought her a whittling knife and flint and steel which were put to good use later in the day.  As per tradition Beth arrived late morning and as an extra treat we 'borrowed' her for slightly longer, so she stopped for tea followed by cake and watching " Nativity 3."  Pip's birthday provided a welcome relief from the previous 24 hours and was definitely sunshine on a grey day.

 Finding the flint and steel.

 My goodness I don't have bags under my eyes but suitcases!!  In my defence we did not get home from being with family until 11pm and I finally fell into bed at 1:00am and up again at 8:00am ;-)


 After lunch bowling session.

 Using the flint and steel to burn last year's Christmas tree branches in Ben's fire pit!

Beth whittling a wand for Pip and Pip stripping the branches for extra kindling.

 Toasting marshmallows and all the best folk wear ...

 ... sunglasses when the sun goes down :-)

 Eleven candles on two cakes, ready now, one, two, three and ...

... blow! 

 Happy Birthday dear gal and cheers to a precious friendship.

"Friends are like stars in the sky, you might not always see them but you know that they are there."

Christmas Day

We managed to attend mass on Christmas morning, followed by our Christmas dinner and opening of presents.  It was a fairly peaceful and restful day which was sorely needed.  I haven't fully recovered from the virus that I had two weeks ago and once again I am battling with a sore throat and swollen glands, always a weak point.

 Building with Christmas Lego.

 Cashew nut roast and assorted vegetables.

 Playing the pudding ping pong game :-)

The tree and Ben playing his battlefront game on the play station; he saved his Christmas money from last year and added it to birthday money and bought this in September.  He has a lot of fun playing online with Tom in Grange, it is quite strange hearing Tom's voice through the television :-)

Hope you are having a blessed Christmastide xx 

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Advent Part Two

It's the final countdown :-)  Most of the cards have been posted, presents sorted and gifts exchanged between various parties.  Pip will be 11 on Monday eep!   We are hoping to attend the Christingle Service at St Thomas' Church in Garstang on Christmas Eve followed by Mass at our parish church on Christmas Day morning.  Note the verb 'to hope', for as in all things there is an unwritten rider, providing there are no issues at this end ;-)

Despite an unforeseen sickness explained below we have managed to attend various planned activities, so here is a mish mash of events to date:

Making Green Christmas Crafts at Rhyddings Park


Sizergh Castle and Youth Group Christmas Party

I reckon Pip was the only one smiling on Election Results Day, it was nothing short of a disaster depending on which side of the fence you are aligned :-)  If you voted for Brexit and you have no money worries then I guess you would call it a success.  For those of us on the other side of the fence, we have Bungling Boris running the show, a British self styled Donald Trump, not good :-(

However we had promised Pip a Christmas Meal whilst Ben had his 'volunteers do' at Heron Corn Mill and not wanting to renague on a promise, unlike some politicians we sallied forth to our chosen venue.  It was a horrid grey and very wet day, but the meal was lovely and the twinkly lights provided a bit of cheer.

 Hmm, I have definitely lost my usual spark for sure!

By the time we arrived home I wasn't feeling too great but had promised to help with the crafts at the Youth Group Christmas Party, so I had a rest and an hour and half later we headed out the door.  The event had been split into two distinct times, 6:30-8pm and 8-9:30pm.  Nobody turned up for the first session, hence Pip sitting on her own decorating a biscuit but by the time 7:30 arrived thirty five kids charged through the door!  It was a lovely evening and lifted my spirits.

By the time Saturday morning came around it was obvious that I was dealing with a flu based virus, Ben having been ill earlier on in the week.  It was exactly 11-14 days post flu jab for both us and we were the only ones sick!  Dave and Pip have been perfectly fine and needless to say they are both reluctant to have the jab. 

 I am still dealing with after effects from the virus but was well enough to drive to Ozzy for our usual Thursday Arts Award.  Pip has finished her bronze award awaiting moderation in late January and  she has already begun work on her silver.  We enjoyed yummy food and the girls had fun playing Kersplatt and making marbled paper:

Here is Pip sharing her review of a Lego Animation Workshop and her involvement as a Young Ambassador for the Library; she was part of a team that organised a Christmas craft, party and film afternoon earlier in December.

Having a go at marbling, we have the finished piece which I will have to share :-)

Pip saved her best model to last before placing it onto the board to meet its doom!

Last but not least we have a jolly holiday cat-in-the-box keeping an eye on the wrapping process:

Tuesday, 10 December 2019


Plodding along at this end!  Dave was super organised and bought the wreath candles earlier in the year, however this year they were a totally different size which meant sawing off 1/3 of the end and shaping the bottom so they would fit in the wreath holders! 

Ben finishes college on Friday and we will officially finish our home school activities the following week.  A lot of the evening activities are also winding down and for that I am grateful.

Whilst Ben was helping at a college open day on Saturday, Dave and Pip took the bus into the Garstang and spent the day at the library.  In the morning she took part in an animation workshop and out of the three kids booked on the session she was the only one to attend.  After lunch she helped the librarian organise party games and set up the quiet room ready for the showing of "Nativity 2."  Pip is part of the young ambassador team and this was her first try at organising and leading an event:


After mass on Sunday we dropped Ben off at his music workshop and drove to Grange to see Sara, Tom and Oliver.  They cooked us a lovely roast meal and welcomed us despite Sara dealing with a migraine at the time, no fun :-(  

Ollie was a real sweetie giving loads of kisses and just loved sitting on Pip's knee for a cuddle.  They also had their tree decorated and it looked lovely twinkling on a cold grey day.

 It's a very rainy here today, we are having soup for lunch and then we will be heading out over to Oswaldwistle for a Christmas Craft workshop this afternoon.  Ben has elected to stay at home (I don't blame him!) and finish a college assignment and cook tea.

Advent Blessings One And All xx 

Friday, 29 November 2019


Two weeks ago Benedict attended his very last appointment in the paediatric diabetes clinic.  As from now on he will be attending the diabetes hub in another part of the hospital.  We haven't been cast adrift without any support however, as his paediatric consultant and specialist nurse are still involved in his care until he is nineteen.  To mark the occasion, he kindly endured a silly selfie moment in the chidren's ward corridor, right in front of 'The Weaver' painting that featured in our very first December Photo Project many moons ago!

The next milestone involves a haircut and a city break in Edinburgh!  As I write Pip is attending her first ever trip away with Guides.  I dropped her off at the station for 6pm and will collect her around 5pm on Sunday.  On the way home Dave and I had a quiet meal in one of the local eateries nearby and Ben thoroughly enjoyed his curry for one complete with onion bahjis and an alcohol free beer!

 Pip has been desperate for short hair and waited patiently for her hair appointment which was on Wednesday.  Lydia did a great job and not only does she suit it, her hair is much more manageable :-)

These photos were taken in the Salon whilst Lydia was also taking some photos to add to the Salon's photo gallery on social media.  She did ask my permission to take the photos and to share them.  

 All packed and ready to go!

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Lighting A Fire On Martinmas

Monday afternoon was our usual monthly Forest School meet up and the challenge was to make your own fire and cook s'mores over the flames.  It was raining 'cats and dogs' and blowing a hoolie but we wrapped up warm and sheltered under the pop up Vango porch and make shift tarp.

 A metal colander makes a great mini fire pit and Pip is using a flint and steel to make her fire.  She was well practised since she had made a fire during the Beacon Fell Adventure camps in the summer.

Pip enjoyed making and eating her s'mores and we were both grateful for a warm drink as it was mightily cold!

We are still yet to make our lantern and sing a song as it has been busy at this end.  I am declaring tomorrow as a faith and catch up day, so there'll be reading, making and hopefully a spot of baking.