Currently On Ice

Above is a picture of my garden last summer, it was an amazing summer, the entire UK was bathed in hot sunshine for three months, that hasn’t happened in many years.  We BBQed every weekend, sat outside at every opportunity and I relished my little garden looking so pretty, if I say so myself (It’s hard work but I love it!) Of course it didn’t rain so my water bill is now huge from sprinklers and watering everything, but it was SO worth it!

But now the mornings are so dark, putting my makeup on is like painting a portrait with a blindfold on! And don’t start me about the long dark nights, I know they are allegedly starting to pull out now, but isn’t January the most depressing month! No wonder the papers are full of celebs on tropical beaches, frankly who can blame them! If you could you would and it’s no good begrudging them.

I am now starting to daydream about the smell of cut grass and which flowers I will plant in May, I just love being outside in the warm weather, but I am like a hermit in the winter!

Not to wish my life away by any means, but quietly wishing on stars that we have another gorgeous summer!

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Best Kept Secret … Ever!

Happy New Year my lovely followers! Sorry that I’ve been away so long, but I got an amazing Christmas Surprise!  My wonderful husband Pierre surprised me on Christmas Day with one last present he ‘found’ under the tree! I opened what seemed like a calendar and it was actually boarding cards! to go away for New Year on a beach holiday! Wowzer!!!!

He had been secretly planning it for 6 months! He quietly told all our good friends and said that whatever I invited them to over New Year, just go along with it, but don’t turn up!  He contacted my boss in secret and secured me a week off, he booked our favourite hotel and managed to keep me from suspecting anything at all!!! Unbelievable!

Pierre told me afterwards that it got more and more difficult to keep it quiet, and when I started bringing loads of food shopping in just before Christmas, he was cringing! he kept secretly checking the labels to see if would go in the freezer !!!  Well it did, I packed in two hours on Boxing day and we jetted off the next morning!

Totally the best kept secret ever and the best husband anybody could wish for.

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Pure Fear

Last night I recalled a memory that I hadn’t thought about in a long time, but one that I will never forget as long as I live.  It was the one and only time I have been overwhelmed by a feeling of pure fear.

Twenty or so years ago, when I lived in South Miami, I used to join the early morning park walkers, if I was up in time from a late night in the restaurant.  This one particular day I knew my walking friends would be long gone and at their jobs, but I fancied my walk anyway.  It was around 11am, a typical beautiful Florida sunny day and the park was only a five minutes walk from my house, so off I went.  The park was totally deserted, surprisingly not even Mums and babies in pushchairs, not a soul around.  The walking circuit was around the perimeter, a nice even pathway, mostly very open, but two or three places where you would walk through trees, but not in any kind of darkness.  As I walked around the circuit, suddenly I had the most terrible feeling come over me, I don’t think I can explain it well enough to do it justice, and this feeling was pure fear, and it grew inside me rapidly.  I speeded up, still not a soul around, no strange noises, no cracking twigs, no footsteps behind me, nothing at all to explain this utter terror wrapping its claws around me.  I started to jog, then run and didn’t slow down until I left the park and was on the road home.  It took me a couple of hours to calm down fully.

To this day I cannot explain why I felt this way, all these years later I can vividly remember how I felt.  This has never happened to me since, it was without explanation, unfounded and made me think perhaps I was going mad.  But that day I felt something evil and that something really terrifying was going to happen to me.

I never returned to that park again.

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Christmas Advice

A dear friend of mine received a letter from his friend, it read:

Dear George

With the holidays close upon us, I would like to share a personal experience about drinking and driving. As you know, some of us have been known to have brushes with the authorities from time to time, often on the way home after a “social session” with family or friends….

Well, two days ago, this happened to me: I was out for an evening with friends and had more than a couple of glasses of rather nice red wine and a few mojitos. Although relaxed, I still had the common sense to know I was way over the limit. That’s when I did something I’ve never done before — I took a taxi home! Sure enough, on the way there was a police roadblock, but since it was a taxi, they waved it past and I arrived home safely without incident.

This was a real surprise to me, because I had never driven a taxi before. I don’t know where I got it, and now that it’s in my garage I don’t know what to do with it.

Best Wishes and Happy Holidays

Frederick.

I have never laughed so much in ages!

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Eulogy – Delivered!

Yesterday was my dear friends Fathers funeral.  As I wrote previously, I was asked to do the eulogy.  So many of you lovely people gave me wonderful advice and support, which I can’t thank you enough for.  I practised my speech and was as prepared as I could be, despite just getting over a nasty flu bug (You couldn’t make it up!).  What was totally unexpected was the amount of people that turned up, I could not believe it, they just kept coming.  My husband Pierre said afterwards that there must have been 150 people there, it was standing room only! My first eulogy as well!  The minister offered for me to speak first, which I did.  I honestly couldn’t judge how I did, but I felt it was ok.  Afterwards I had so many compliments and so many hugs and thanks you’s from the family, so I think I managed it.  Pierre said I was excellent and he is used to public speaking and lecturing, so that was a comfort.  All I remember is my legs shaking and when I sat down afterwards Pierre said he could feel me trembling, but my voice and been calm when I spoke.  I was so happy to be able to help my friend and her family, who I have known since I was 14 years old, they are like my family and truly wonderful people, it was an honour to be there for them.

I am not taking requests for the future dear readers, lets hope word doesn’t get around I can pull off eulogies to large crowds!

Thank you all for all your lovely support.  xx

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The Eulogy – Advice Needed!

I have been asked to speak at my best friends Fathers funeral next week, and I am extremely nervous about it.  I have never given a eulogy before and I know there are going to be a lot of people there, most of which I have known practically my entire life.  My friend and I met when I was 14 years old, she worked in the coffee shop where I got my first Saturday job, I am 53 now, so I would say she is my oldest friend.  Obviously I want to do an excellent job for my friend and her mother and all the grandchildren.  They are going to put together some memories for me to share and hopefully send me them in the next few days, so I can practice.  If anybody has done this before and can offer me any tips or advice, I would be so very grateful.

Thank you my lovely followers xxx

 

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Do You Know Your Own Strength?

You think you do, but I promise you , you don’t.  Not until something terrible happens.  I always imagined I would be a jibbering wreck, unable to function, if I ever lost my Mum.  But when she passed away I didn’t cry for the longest time, not properly.  I was able to help with all the funeral arrangements, all the paperwork, legal issues etc..  I was told that at the funeral I was composed and dignified, which would have made my Mum so proud.  I was able to talk calmly and with kindness to all her many friends that attended her wake.  It was only a couple of years later that I realised I had dealt with things far better than I could have ever imagined, this only happens when you come out of the other side of grief.  I could not have come through the first year without my lovely Husband Pierre’s support, he was amazing, always listened, looked after me when I cried, when I ranted, when I was quiet, he adored my Mum and she him, so her loss was hard on him also.  It’s only when you look back, when you have come through the misery, the depression and the utter sense of loss, that you realise you had far more strength than you would have ever dreamed of.  So to all of you in that dark place, mourning or grieving, please know, you will be fine, you will get through it and you will come out the other side a stronger and wiser person.

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Times Change.

When I was young we had the most wonderful Christmases.  My amazing Mum made everything home cooked, the house looked beautiful with all the Christmas things she and my Dad had collected on their travels over the years.  Christmas Day was filled with family, food and love.  We ate at lunchtime then in the afternoon their was games, stopping of course at 3pm to watch The Queens annual address to the nation on television.  The atmosphere was so cosy in their house, it really was a special day that I looked forward to every year.  As the years went by my sister moved hundreds of miles away with her family, so it was just my husband and I and my parents (I should mention that my husbands parents passed away many years ago).  We kept up the tradition for many years, taking turns to stay at each others homes.  But, times change, my lovely Mum passed away over four years ago now, and as you may have read in previous blogs, my Father moved on immediately with another woman.  Because of that I am unable to have anything to do with her, I feel I would be betraying my Mum, like he did, so Christmas is just the two of us.  At first I dreaded it, not because my husband and I don’t get along, we are fantastic pals, but I was so used to a houseful of people, fun, laughter and socialising.  As it happens we were invited to friends for Christmas Day a couple of times, they had a house full of kids, grand kids etc.. It was a lot of fun, very busy!  But the last two years it’s just been the two of us, AND it has been wonderful! I make sure we have all our favourite foods in, nice wine and champers, and we have a lovely day together.  We get up and dressed nicely, at 11.30am we have a glass of champagne and open our gifts, Christmas music and carols playing in the background, as you can imagine we spoil each other rotten!  We have a light lunch of something decadent, this year will be scallops on black pudding with minted pea puree and home made bread.  In the afternoon we play board games or cards, for money (pennies!!!).  At 4.30pm there is a little happy hour with beautiful nibbles from a fancy store, we eat at 6.30pm, this year it will be fillet steak with whisky cream sauce (home made, Pierre is an excellent cook), garlic sauté potatoes and asparagus.  we are not dessert people but there is homemade Christmas cake and cheeses for later.  We watch a movie, chat, enjoy some nice wine and that’s the day over before your know it!  We keep saying we’ll take a walk in the afternoon, never happens! We do of course still watch The Queen at 3pm.  People feel sorry for us being just the two at Christmas, but we love it and turn down all invites now to enjoy our special Christmas Day.

Wishing you all dear readers a lovely Thanksgiving and holiday season, Whatever your country, or faith or belief, may you be as lucky as Pierre and I!

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What Matters Most.

This is different for every single human being on this planet.  And it is something that can change for each person on a very fluid basis.

So what matters most to you? If you answer honestly, you will find the meaning of your life to you.

I find the list is not short, and it is difficult to prioritise.  So in no particular order my top five:

My husband , our life, our health, trying to be kind, living a good and honest life.

This is now, ten years ago it was probably different, in ten years time it may have changed again.  Life is full of uncertainty, so I will keep wishing on shooting stars and four leaf clovers, and be grateful for all I have.

Incidentally if your list starts with money, power, or world domination, It might be time for a serious rethink of your priorities!

And if you want things really putting into perspective, my dear friends son, who is 28 years old and spent his childhood overcoming birth defects, became a teacher, now has been diagnosed with stage 4 Cancer.

Be grateful for everything in your life, every single day.

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