Thursday, 30 April 2009

Quiet Day

I have had a very quiet day today, as Mike has been on nights, so he was sleeping and Jamie went to his pal Jake's after school and I didn't collect him until 8pm, so it was quiet without him. Also he was pretty tired when he got home, so he pretty much hit the sack and went to sleep. Just got on with all of the usual stuff today and also when all my downstairs jobs were done, including giving my front garden a very good water, I watched my library DVD about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. A BBC programme I missed but what I have seen so far is very good. I love anything to do with history.

I bought some flowers today to make a couple of arrangements tomorrow, I will do my favourite vertical arrangement and have my first go at Ikebana. I will post some pictures to show you how I got on.

I am not very tidy when it comes to the office/scrapbooking room and I need to have a major tidy up of that tomorrow, my first job of the day and then I can look forward to some scrapbooking over the weekend. It is our keep free weekend, which means we keep it free from any activites, except the ones we choose on the spur of the moment. Time for us all to spend some time together or time doing the things we enjoy.




Wednesday 29th April

A regular sort of day, done all of the usual stuff, chores, jobs, dog, tidying, cleaning etc etc. Jamie and I planted out his sunflowers and lettuce plants, so fingers crossed they will do well and we watered everything very well in the back garden. I was delighted to see that my azalea looks as though it is coming into flower, it didn't flower last year, so I was worried it was pot bound and I would have to re-pot it which will be a major job!

I did some more work sorting some photos out from the damaged hard drive and filed some of them away. I will hopefully get a few loaded up onto Facebook on Friday.

I end up getting tons and tons of emails from online crafting shops and end up looking through them, which is a huge time-waster, but occasionally I do spot something which goes onto must have list. Usually something I do not really need, just want. I do try to be sensible (honest Mike I do!). I've had quite a bit of use recently out of my corner punch and have been looking at some new border punches which I just may have to spend some pennies on, I have got one or two ideas of what I might be able to do with them!

Jamie made me laugh so much with his comments about Mick Hucknell. We were watching our Sky+ed (is that a word? it is now!) Tonight's the Night and Simply Red were on. Now I love Simply Red and even though he had red hair, thought Mick Hucknell had something about him, anyway, Jamie chirped up "did that man used to be a woman?" so I said "No, that's Mick Hucknell, he's always been a man", well said Jamie "he has very bad hair" and I thought actually he has and sadly he now has a very bad face too. He appears to have aged very quickly, but I hope he does not revert to any of this surgery, whilst not watching Hell's Kitchen, I did see Linda Evans and as a mega Dynasty fan in the day, did not recognise her, what has she done to her face! It is sad to see people who were pretty, attractive, handsome not being able to cope with such a natural process as ageing. But then if they want to do it, I guess they have to be left to get on with it, me I'm going to age very disgracefully!




Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Busy Day!

It was my intention not to get behind with this, but now I have, so I had better catch up quick!

Tuesday was a busy day. Mornings are spent at my Floristry class,which is always enjoyable, but this one went on a little bit longer than normal and I didn't get back to my car till after 12.30 (the class is supposed to finish about 11.45). And the reason for that was a Carmen Rose, or as I keep wanting to call it a Carmen Miranda Rose! A carmen rose is a created rose, it is made from the centre of one rose and the petals from however many roses are needed to create the effect you want. And this is mine, and I am quite pleased for a first attempt, this is a design that needs some practice, but when perfected is quite stunning.

I had a look at a few of these on the Internet and as a Bride's Bouquet they can look amazing, if somewhat costly, starting at about £120 upwards, but the price is some indication of the amount of time and level of skill needed to make one. They also take a bit of dedication on the Florist's part, as they really need to be made as late as possible, so that means getting up during the night. I bound mine with some lovely bright, lime green ribbon, you may notice as time goes on that I have a bit of thing for green, particularly lime green!

After leaving floristry, I popped into Boots to top up our vitamin supply, sun cream for Jamie and get some bronzer. I am what my DH calls 'Northern pale' and am not a great one for a lot of foundation, so as the sun appears to be here I thought replace the bronzer. I then of course did what they want you to do, which is think, "Ah 3 for 2, I'll just top up the stock of ......." so for me that included shower gel, toothpaste, a couple of other bits from the No 7 range (don't tell Mike, but they were 3 for 2!). When I got to the check out I was glad I had saved quite a bit on my Advantage Card! By the time I got home, did the usual bits and pieces, it was almost time to collect Jamie from school!

In the evening, Jamie and I were going back to school for a languages information evening. It was basically a fun and informal way to show parents how they are teaching languages in the school. We dropped into his class and played bingo and match the pairs in French, the children showed how they played a version of Chinese whispers in French and also hangman. The year 3 children were good when they sang us their songs and watching the parachute game in the hall was fun. That has to be seen - I have seen them on the field doing that and I wondered what it was all about, now I know - 2 or 3 children sit in a technicolour parachute and the other children walk around with handles on the outside, until it become tight in the middle and then they all pull and the children inside go flying. It does seem to be very enjoyable for them! We also popped in to see some of the German and Bulgarian! It was a good evening and there was a lovely atmosphere between the staff and the teachers, which any parent welcomes.

So it was quite a busy day!




Monday, 27 April 2009

Straightforward Monday

Just an ordinary day today, did a few chores and pottered (my term for doing some jobs, messing around on the web, playing with Binnie, drinking lots of coffee whilst nattering to Mike) around all day. I watched the most recent X-Files film, which I had borrowed from the library and had to go back today. When did Mulder and Scully become an item? I missed that one, but enjoyed the film very much. But I hope that is the end as sometimes, these movie franchises can go on too long.

Felt really guilty when Jamie's little pal David came round to play but couldn't because we were just on our way out. I know they are only 9 but why don't they ring first! He looked so disappointed and I felt so bad, but I shouldn't, it is ok to say no when it's not convenient, I just have to keep telling myself that. We can have David round to tea later in the week and he will be happy again. Going to the library every week is one of the things that Jamie and I really enjoy doing together and I don't really like sharing that with anyone else, it's one of those (and I really hate the phrase) 'quality times'. We have fun picking out our books, dvd's or cd's, and sometimes we take homework to the library too. I think it's a good idea to show Jamie that information can be found in many other places, not just on wikipedia, and give him the skills to be able to find the information. (Or perhaps that's just because I spent so long working in a library!).

Today I got an Italian cookbook out on loan, so I hope to have some fun with that later in the week. I had the second best Minestrone I ever had in Ely recently, the best was in Amsterdam some years ago, so my task for tomorrow is to make an even better Minestrone. I'll have a go at two or three dishes during the next couple of weeks and I will let you know how they go!

I have managed to plan out a few scrapbook pages and put them into a folder, but I think they will now have to wait for some attention for a few days as I have a busy day tomorrow. Off for a glass of Pinot Grigio rose now and to watch Ashes to Ashes then bed. I just have the scrapbooking mess to tidy up first. I am a messy scrapbooker, no matter how much room I have, I use it all. I think if I had masses of space I would still use it all.

The other down side of scrapbooking is the stash, and there is always something that I want, but not neccesarily need! I try to be good, but perhaps in my next scrapbooking blog with add a few of my favourite items and a few of the items I would like!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

The New Roxette/Shindig/Mojo - Aylesbury Friars

Aylesbury Friars and Mike's Website are getting some great coverage in some of the music press, here's a few highlights!

Shindig - a prog rock music magazine had this item, and an item on zigzag magazine which came out of Aylesbury, and a big advert for the 40th anniversary.

I will add the other bits from Mojo and the Roxette as I find them but if you are interested in Friars please check out the Friars Official Website

and The New Roxette can be found at

and also check out Bucks TV - Mike makes a couple of appearances on there now!



and there are some other interesting Friars bits on Bucks TV too!

Friars Aylesbury

Just over a year ago, Mike said you'd have thought there would be a website for Friars in Aylesbury, a music club which ran from the 60's to the 80's and which Mike went to quite a lot during the 80's. So I said, sort of flippantly, well why don't you start one, well we didn't know then what was going to happen as a result. As you can see from the link above Mike did start one, and it is going from strength to strength and getting bigger and bigger by the week. Take a look at it, but don't blame me if you find you have lost a couple of hours whilst you do so. My recommendation is to make yourself a coffee and have a look. I took some persuading that some of the bands were for real, such as Blossom Toes or Mandrake Paddle Steamer (but as I have since met Mr Mandrake Paddle Steamer himself), the very charming Paul Riordan I have had to accept that there really were bands called that, well I guess it was the 60's and all those funny cigarettes and stuff!!

Rather than me tell you about it, I will let Mike tell you himself in his introduction to the website .......

"The webmaster, somewhere in north Bucks:

Now is the time to forget the whimpering child and become the webmaster

I grew up in Aylesbury and got into music very early, heavily influenced by music my older cousin was playing. There weren’t many 10 year olds taking Cockney Rebel albums in to school on the last day of term only to find that teacher always played little Gilly’s Bay City Rollers album because nobody else had heard any of Cockney Rebel’s music – it was too grown up for every one else. Whereas George McCrae was just fine. Such is life and this pretty much summed up what Friars stood for – grown up music for a discerning audience. Mind you I took my revenge years later when I forced my classmates to listen to Swell Maps.

I’d become conscious of Friars in the mid 70s seeing articles and reviews in the Bucks Herald or Bucks Advertiser and became conscious also of the distinctive imagery. The hand drawn flyers/news-sheets and the billboard posters were distinctive and never boring and you would see them all around town and they stood out.. They were always going to catch your eye even if in my case, many of the acts I hadn’t actually heard of because they were for bigger boys and girls. In a perverse way, I looked forward to seeing the next poster for the next gig – would it be on black or white paper and what colour would the paint be? Odd I know, but as I said, imagery can be key in a young person’s mind and my fascination for wandering what colour it would be was vindicated by discovering recently that there was a secret code to these posters. Don’t ask me, but David Stopps and Pete Frame are the only men who know. Add to this I would cycle to the Civic Centre on a Sunday morning after the gig the night before to get the latest news-sheet that would have been issued and handed out for the first time the night before (now you would be forgiven for thinking this is going into Alan Partidge mentalist territory). I even had a great collection of them. Bizarrely, doing this website, I’ve had to rely on others to supply me some of these news-sheets having foolishly parted with many of these over 20 years ago, keeping largely only the ones I had seen the concerts associated with them. I’d even read old reviews in the old Bucks Heralds in the library yonks ago (whilst researching stuff for college in all likelihood). Why I didn’t embrace the internet and what it offered a long time ago, remains a mystery.

I regret in some ways, not being older. Sounds odd I know, but then I would have seen Sailor, Mott the Hoople, David Bowie, Genesis, Cockney Rebel, Stackridge and others in their prime who went on to become ‘Friars heroes’

Friars closed effectively in 1984 but when the announcement came in early 1985 that the club had closed, I and many others were shocked. I had called home, when I was away at college to be told the news and I was gobsmacked but perhaps not totally surprised. Whilst the tail end of 1984 had seen five sell out concerts, there had been bigger and bigger gaps through the preceding two years that maybe suggested that it was getting harder and harder to attract the bands that were breaking through, so many of whom had gone on to greater success and remain in the public eye today. The local paper front page headline on Friars’ closure was simply “The Day The Music Died” Enough said.

Given that Friars had a very enviable relationship in the industry, it is hard to fathom why this did ultimately happen. You must bear in mind that for every ‘big’ sold out gig there was a breaking band that would sell out next time. Friars was brave in that you could have the likes of Genesis or Gillan or SLF playing one week and the next week would feature a gig with local artistes or lesser known bands. Friars was no less enthusiastic about the breaking new or local act than the established ‘stars’ You didn’t see this at the next big venues such as Oxford New Theatre and you were lucky to see anything at all elsewhere.

Still, when you see the amount of Friars related memories of gigs on dedicated fansites etc, you know that the memory remains and it is largely of fondness. The place was well run and the man who was the public face of it all, David Stopps, really did care about what people thought and his attitude ensured that all genres of artiste played Friars successfully and dared to put on acts that other local councils wouldn’t go near with a barge pole. This isn’t rhetoric, it’s a fact. The Clash played Aylesbury several times successfully when other councils were banning them (from Dunstable to Hemel to Wycombe to Middlesbrough). The same is true of Sham 69. Bands with undeserved reputations. How many other promoters or venues would encourage people at gigs to swap steel toed boots for plimsolls? Or offer cotton wool to help alleviate the effects of the loud music? This summed up Friars philosophy of peaceful co-existence and enjoying the music. And caring. You will see that this theme pervades through many artistes memories as you look through the site.

A former local boy, Richard Burt, has set up as part of his website, a few pages dedicated to Aylesbury Friars and it is indeed excellent and till now the only website (I am aware of) that comprehensively lists just about all the gigs. It is Richard who has provided the forum facility for this website. What drove me on to do this website wasn’t any sense of competition (a huge thanks to Richard for his help and support) but to try to look at things in a different and perhaps more detailed and complete way and also the fact that I always loved Friars. It seemed fitting to try to research a bit more about the artistes who played and the punters who paid to see them especially as I was one of those punters and I had seem some incredible and very enjoyable gigs over the years….and a couple of very bad ones too (not mentioning any names, but they were both in 1980 and ska related). But that wasn’t down to Stopps’ organisation skills, just the bands concerned were awful.

But I was grateful to see on my doorstep The Jam, Genesis, The Teardrop Explodes, Toyah, The Pretenders, Eurythmics, The Kinks, The Clash, The Piranhas and so many more great acts, many of whom are still performing and making records in 2007. Also to see Marillion develop and put Aylesbury back on the map.

I met with David Stopps in the summer of 2007 who gave me his support for this website and that validated even attempting to get this project off the ground. I had explained what I intended to do and how I was going to do it. I quickly realised the amount of work in front of me. A labour of love, you see the site now hopefully a fitting memory to a fine club. It’s not live with a big bang all completed product – it will be updated further over time as more memories etc come in.

I decided that memories had to be captured from the early days of Friars in particular, and it was always going to be a big ask to go back that far. Many artistes, when I contacted them, happily offered to help in any way they could even if they couldn’t be too specific about playing at Friars – the delight to be contacted by members of Mandrake Paddle Steamer, Principal Edwards, Quintessence, Blossom Toes, Jody Grind, Chameleon, Free etc indicated that this could be something much more than just a hobby and also helped ensure the website would be more comprehensive than I had envisaged.. Maybe if this had been left for a while, some of these memories wouldn’t have been gained because people not unreasonably wouldn’t remember. The delight of receiving feedback from these artistes was just as great from receiving feedback from artistes who played at Friars Phase 2 and 3 whose memories are a little ‘fresher’ maybe and in some cases are still very much in the public eye today.

What I also quickly discovered is that for many artistes, playing Friars was a major event or achievement – they wanted to play on reputation alone and has stuck in the memory and these people have kindly shared those memories of those gigs. Read the comments from some of the artistes.

So the fans have memories too – 87,000 Friars Club members, without whom there would have been no club (and a club membership bettered by few organisations) and none of the gigs that in many cases have gone into legend and folklore.

As part of my research I found music by many of the bands that played Phase 1 and Phase 2 as I had to find out for my own curiosity what was going on then. Some of it was interesting, some of it I couldn’t get my head round, but then I guess you had to be there ! As far as I can, I have put some YouTube video links in so you can hear this music for yourself.

Let’s not forget also that Friars played a major role in the development and recognition of amongst others Genesis and David Bowie. Queen played Friars too in 1974 and they didn’t fare too badly ! I will work out who is officially the most successful artiste to have played Friars one day. I don't know the answer, but the likes of Les Payne (over several bands), Otway and Barrett, Stackridge, Jack The Lad, Fruupp will be up there. As for acts that played all three phases of Friars, Willy Barrett, Hawkwind. Les Payne and Genesis spring to mind - there may be others.

Enjoy this website and feel free to email me with your contributions be you a fan or a musician who played there – be it what Friars meant to you or memories of a particular gig.
There are many people without whom I would never have got going with this website, they know who they are – thank you.

Send this to your friends and link to your sites just to show people how great this place was out in the sticks in the Home Counties.

Mike O’Connor April 2008"

The website is pretty vast and is a huge resource, with pictures, facts, flyers, posters, interviews, hereos awards, band memories, artists memories etc etc. It is a total labour of love for Mike and that is fine, it occupies him for hours and hours and hours. It has changed parts of our lives, in a very positive way and Mike especially, but me to some extent too have met some super people through Friars. I am very proud of what Mike has achieved with this project and whilst it is a juggernaut it is in no way an albatross, in fact it is very much the opposite. I for one hope it continues, develops and grows.




Wrest Park - St George's Day Festival

Wrest Park

Today we went to the St George's Day Festival at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire. It is probably something we wouldn't have normally done (because we have done a few of this type of thing before), but as I had won a family ticket we thought it would make a nice few hours out. And as the weather was so lovely, we were right.

St George and the crowd

There was a variety of things to see and do and lots of displays in several arenas and of course the main one was featuring the man himself, St George. We had a wander around some of the craft stalls, which always seem to be at theses events. Although there were one or two which were a little bit different, the one selling 'magic' or pagan type items, the one with the interesting looking Green Man and Herne figurines and the one selling a variety of weaponry, which was Jamie's favourite. I particularly liked the crystal/gemstone stall, the men who ran it were very knowledgeable and keen to share their knowledge. There were a couple of very appealing items, that I will be bearing in mind for future flower arranging plans.
There were plenty of people around to enjoy the day. There was such a lot to see with falconry, jousting, archery, equestrian displays amongst them. There was also a large living history display and the people who do those are always so knowledgeable that we all learnt about something we didn't know. We had a long chat to a lady cooking the medieval way and looking at her gorgeous ferrets, Stella and Mavis! and listening to soldiers from the Middlesex Regiment circa 1880 talking about their lifestyle and kits.

Medieval Fighting Display and Stella and Mavis

On the way home, we stopped for a spot of Sunday lunch and found a pub in Ridgmont. The Rose and Crown on the High Street. It did a very nice roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and stacks of lovely vegetables and the landlord, and his staff were incredibly friendly, a very enjoyable meal and a good find. We all had roast beef for mains, but Jamie had chocolate fudge cake, Mike had Eve's pudding and I had summer fruit pudding, for deserts all of which were lovely. I sort of let the side down because I decided I wanted a Guinness shandy (which you don't ask for in Ireland!) but asked for 1/2 pint of lemonade, 1/2 pint of Guinness and a pint glass and lovely it was too! After we had our meal we sat in the sunshine in the beer garden for a little while and Jamie played in the play area, so a very enjoyable time was had by all.

Jamie having a go at archery and in the beer garden

As we had made a nice early start we got back in time, for Jamie to go out on his bike and he was joined by Kian, I put some plants out into the front garden and Mike did a couple of maintenance jobs in the bathroom. I have now started to put in some plants which are going to be of use in flower arranging and today added chyosia, formium, ceanothus for flower arranging and honeysuckle to smell nice. I also started to add a few bedding plants and now I need to keep them all alive! That is the really hard part.

Mike has popped off to The Stables to see Katie Buckhaven, who he has seen before and Jamie and I caught up on Saturday evening's Robin Hood, so nice to see Guy of Gisborne back again!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Ultravox - Return to Eden - Hammersmith Apollo- Friday 24th April 2009

A Stroll Down Memory Lane with Ultravox
It is 27 years give or take a month or two since I saw Ultravox at Hammersmith Odeon, then I was a fresh faced sixth former heading towards her A levels and now I'm a forty something Mum heading towards middle age. But for a short time on Friday, the years just slipped away, for me, for Ultravox and for the audience. Yes they too had aged, they were all sporting grey, receding hair well except for Warren Cann whose hair looked just like it did on that day in the summer of 1985, the last time they played together at Wembley Stadium, Live Aid. But they all looked amazingly well and seemed genuinely pleased to be back.
The approaches to Hammersmith Odeon have changed, a new shopping centre nearby and for some reason we had to take our lives in our hands to get over two major roads (we had missed the underpass!). But once inside, the place hadn't changed, not since Riverdance about 14 years ago, or Japan there in 1983, can that really be 25 years ago? The memories came flooding back.

Unusually, there was no support band and Ultravox came on at about 8.30pm. They opened with Astradyne from Vienna, which particularly pleased Mike and early in the set Warren got his chance with Mr X. Sadly the sound was a little distorted and it was a bit difficult to hear Warren Cann on that one. The lighting was also very subtle and almost subdued, they were aiming for an arty atmosphere to suit their music, although that does make photography more difficult. I did manage to get a handful of cracking shots though, which pleased me, especially as this appeared to be of the few places now policing people taking photos.

The set list was, in no particular order, Astradyne, Mr X, Reap the Wild Wind, We Stand Alone, All Stood Still, Dancing with Tears in My Eyes, Lament, Passing Strangers, The Thin Wall, Hymn, Rage in Eden, Vienna, Visions in Blue, I Remember Death in the Afternoon, One Small Day, Your Name Has Slipped My Mind Again, and for the encore Sleepwalk and The Voice. If I have missed anything or you know the order please let me know. I was pretty satisfied early on they played We Stand Alone and One Small Day, two of my personal favourites and there were all the other hits too, not really much more one could have asked for.

Hammersmith Odeon was packed and the crowd welcomed every song with a big cheer and sang happily away and each song ended to rapturous applause. Midge Ure was in excellent voice. I've seen Midge in his solo shows several times, but have rarely heard him sound better. And Billy Currie brought the memories back with his jaunts to the front of the stage with his violin. I had forgotten he did that! Warren looked and sounded as suave as ever and Chris looked a bit like your mate's Dad dancing at a wedding, sorry Chris!
The encore was Sleepwalk where there was the only hitch of the night, Billy Currie had some problems with his computer and/or keyboards but that was quickly overcome and they finished with The Voice and the crowd pleasing beating the living daylights out of the drums at the end.

Overall the show was an amazing success and flew past, the crowd had a brilliant time, that was evident from the rapturous singing along. The band really looked as if they were enjoying themselves and burying the ghosts of the bad feeling that has surrounded them for some of the past years. Is that a good way to end it, well yes maybe it is. Can they go into the studio and produce an album of the same quality as the songs they sang tonight, on the performance tonight, I think they probably could.

Chillin Out!

Hey, it's the weekend, so we can all take a step back and relax. Mike has been pretty tired just lately, so he had a very long lie in and has hopefully caught up a bit and feels a lot more refreshed. As well as working he has been ultra busy with his website and associated activities (see, and just needed a break from it. I will do a separate blog all about Friars because what started as an innocent remark from me has become something of a juggernaut, albeit a very interesting and exciting one!

Jamie got the first part of his homework out of the way this morning so he can enjoy the rest of the day, and has been out on his bike and now (whilst I write) Kian is here and I suspect (as the phone has just rung) David is on his way! Blackcurrant to drink and an ice-cream all round shortly, I expect!

Before Mike really surfaced, I took a reluctant Jamie off for a few minutes to a flower festival at St Mary Magdalene's Church in Willen. It is a lovely little church, with boxed pews, and a font in the middle of the aisle. They have had some repairs and a new roof recently and the flower festival was to celebrate their completion. There were some lovely arrangement, particularly the two at the side of the altar, which were by Jeanette Smith and one called 'Cross and Stable'. The latter was an asymmetrical in rich orange, bronze and yellow and had Leucospermum, which look stunning in any arrangement. Sadly my photo of this one did not come out well. But I have included a couple of photos, one of the alter arrangements, 'Reach for the Roof' (below) and a trio of asymmetricals in differing sizes called 'Following Jesus, Sharing his Love' by Margaret Brown (above).

There were 5 pew end arrangements, which looked very familiar, in fact identical to the one I did at my Floristry class on Tuesday, so I had a chat with one of the ladies and found out that she goes to the Thursday class with Sue Billington and they had been donated to the festival.

As we were leaving Willen we spotted the road name below and those of you who know me will know I have a bit of a soft spot for Whitesnake guitarist Doug Aldrich, so I was very pleased to see that he had been honoured in Milton Keynes! Now what do you think the chances are of Mike and I buying a house on that street. Better do the lottery tonight I think.

So now I am organising a few scrapbook pages, picking the papers to use and the photos, and at the same time watching a flower arranging DVD, I guess for me its an ideal relaxation time.

Friday 24th April

Just another one of those general pottering on days, doing a bit of this and that. Hannah and Phil came round to look after Jamie, whilst Mike and I went to see Ultravox at the Hammersmith Odeon (see other post for review). Thank you to Hannah who did my nails for me. Jamie always so looks forward to Hannah and Phil coming round, he regards Phil as his big brother! And Mike and I love them both very much, we could not find a better role model for Jamie than Phil. Jamie and Phil played on the XBox and I think they had KFC for tea! The next morning Jamie always tells us what they were up to, normally it is along the lines of Hannah telling them both what to do!!!!

When we got home despite being very tired we had a good natter, in fact we had a very interesting conversation and I will be very interested to hear what people have to say in response, to get their 'professional opinion' so to speak! Enigmatic, yup!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Thursday 23rd April

Busy old day on Thursday, caught up with lots and lots of housework, whilst listening to loud music, which means we can all enjoy ourselves over the weekend, doing what we want, rather than what we have to do. A few bits to finish off on Friday. Cleared all of downstairs and most of upstairs, so only washing to catch up on now after school hols.

Discovered why Twinkle hadn't eaten her food, as the cat flap had locked itself when it fell off again! So she was happy to come in, eat lots and then just crash for the rest of the day. And spent a lovely few minutes sat in the sunshine with a cup of coffee, enough for me to know I had been sat out without sun cream on later in the day. If I may quote Chappers, "I blame the ginger gene!". Note to self, must remember to go to Boots to stock up on sun-cream, as Jamie has my colouring too, it's a necessity!

Once Jamie was home from school, he wanted to be out on his bike. He seems to have gone super mad to be out and about on his bike now, and who am I to stop that, its brilliant. Well apart from the fact that his bike has shrunk and he has got much taller, so a trip for a new bike will have to happen in the next month. As I needed to tidy up the front garden, he played on his bike, backwards and forwards to the park and I got all the dead stuff off the garden and all the rubbish too. I was amazed as I ended up with nearly 3 bags to go to the tip. I had to lose a couple of Cordyline's which had not survived winter so they took up a bit of space. Jamie's friend Jack turned up, so they played in the park, rode their bikes and helped the paper boy with his paper round. I can now do the fun part of the gardening over the weekend and put in some new plants and colour , always my favourite bit. I need to get out with the ant killer, as they were everywhere, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them. I am not squeamish, but there were so many of them they made me feel like I was itching all over and I enjoyed a very long shower later!

Mike and I caught up with the final episode of Season 2 Spooks, I hope it is not too long before they show Season 3 as I missed the whole Spooks thing when it was on originally, but I am so loving it now. Now would that be because Richard Armitage was in the latest series (maybe), I like him in Spooks but in his leather Guy of Gisborne (yes please!)

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Long Walk with Binnie

I didn't get as much done as I wanted today, but I did have a very very long walk with Binnie, about 2 hours so I guess that is better than doing housework etc. Binnie was really well behaved, even when we saw about 8 ducklings with their mum near where Binnie was having a drink. I want to take the camera out over the weekend when we all go for a walk and take lots of photos of what is happening in the park. The bluebells are out in what we call Bluebell Wood and it looks so pretty, especially when the sun shines through the trees, at some spots you would not believe you are only 2 minutes walk from Tattenhoe, well except you can hear the noise from the A421.

When I did get home I found Mike parked in his car, home on his lunch break, he had forgotten his key, or left it in his other trousers! Silly! I hadn't planned on being out quite so long, so it wouldn't have been such a problem, but I really really enjoyed my walk, but ached as the day went on!

Just pottered on for the rest of the day.


Scrapbooking is one of my major interests and I have built up a nice supply of equipment and consumables (papers, embellishments, ribbons etc) known as stash over the past couple of years. I started going to a crop in autumn last year and love them. A crop is where a group of like minded gals get together to indulge their love of scrapbooking. Everyone has a bit of a nosey around other people's stash and you can usually spot something that goes on your must have list. But the best bit is to exchange ideas about projects (layouts) and see what other people have done too.

I got into scrapbooking, because I have over the years kept a yearly scrapbook, keeping tickets, leaflets, programmes, ribbons of birthday cakes, cards and anything else that has taken my fancy, so I have going back quite a number of years now a wonderful record of all the things that we have done. After seeing some of the scrapbooks and papers that go along with the (American style - well it did come from America) I thought, I just have to have a go at that and I am hooked.

It does appear to become a bit of a passion with the gals who do it and a bit of an obssession for some (you should see some of the websites!), although I have tried to ensure that I keep it all within perspective and ensure that the stash buying stays well within reason. I have a real passion for the creative process and love to put a page together and try to make it the best that I can, but if it doesn't go quite right, its kind of oh well ho hum because it has to be a relaxing process too and most of all I have to enjoy it, which I do.

My most recent pages are below:-


This is a page about Mike, he was beginning to feel a little bit left out after all the pages I had done on Jamie, and a few I had done on Doug Aldrich!


This is a picture of Midge and me taken just after his gig at Corby in September 2008, an enjoyable gig, but he has never bettered when Mike and I saw him doing his Sampled, Looped and Trigger Happy show at The Stables , Wavendon about 2004/2005 (I need to check the exact date).


A fantastic picture of Jamie, he looks so good in hats. I was pleased with this page, as it is very simple, using just a couple of colours (my favourite colours too) and the same picture repeated, I think it works really well.


Tuesday 21st April - Floristry Class

Today was the start of my floristry class again at Newport Pagnell. The class was much smaller than last term, but a few people were still on holiday. We were doing pew ends today. But they can be used as top table arrangements, or even for a funeral with a couple of minor adjustments. I missed having a go at pew ends in Sylvia's class so was pleased to be able to have a go. The photo is below, and with a few added ribbons and touches I am pretty pleased with it for a first attempt.

I may have put a few extra sweetheart roses in, but of course that's the flower arranger where budget is set for a one off and not the florist who would have to produce maybe 8 of these for a wedding!

When I got back home, Mike and I headed off to do the dreaded and hated food shopping. So now the freezer, fridge and cupboards are all full to brimming again, and other than a quick pop into Tesco's local for bits and bobs as and when I should not have to go again for at least 6 weeks. I really really loathe food shopping, I am not that big into shopping at all really, except for an occasional shop here and there. I do enjoy browsing book shops, antique stalls, flea markets, florist shops and garden centres and an occasional craft stash shopping spree, but only now and again. Internet shopping was invented for me!

Not sure where the rest of the day went, but did catch up with some paperwork and of course CSI.

Monday, 20 April 2009

First Day Back At School

Everything has gone very well at school, so that is good, it is always nice to get a new term off to a good start. Jamie was happy to head off this morning and the weather was so lovely too he had a good time, playing with all of his pals. Mike and I had a lovely long walk this morning did about 5km which we felt was a very good start to us trying to improve our fitness. Binnie was brilliant today and no matter how many times she lost her ball, she found it again, it was a real pleasure to be out and about walking with her and Mike. Jamie had a play in the park after school and then spent some time playing on the PC and talking to a couple of his friends.

As Mike was busy yesterday with his Aylesbury Friars stuff, off interviewing John Otway and 'Wild' Willy Barrett - be sure to check out, we decided to have a roast dinner this evening. We had a lovely dinner and then Jamie headed off to bed.

I am a crafter, so have been pottering on over the past few days doing some scrapbooking layouts. I will upload some photos (once I have checked out how to do it) but have done a layout about Jamie, one about Mike and one of me and Midge Ure, all to follow. So now I am off to watch Ashes to Ashes with Mike and we will finish off a bottle of Zinfandel!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Last Day of the Easter Holidays

I always hate the last day of the school holidays, because I love having Jamie at home and having the chance to just have him around, despite the noise, the mess and did I mention the noise. The house has been full on several occasions with lots of noisy boys and I love it, to hear them playing and having fun simply makes me happy. Now we are getting bags packed and uniforms ready for tomorrow. Jamie always gets to choose what he wants to do last day. But at least this time Mike and I know he is really looking forward to getting back to school and catching up with the friends he hasn't seen over the hols, and I get chance to catch up with the other Mums and find out what everyone has been up to.
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