My journal and my life

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Post #35 Here Kitty, Kitty

As mentioned in a previous post, some of my days are filled with dog walking & working with very little of consequence to photograph or write about.  So today, I looked through my past photos & came across these beauties – aaaah, kittens!


Last year I received a phone call from my daughter who lives in an apartment in a city 25 miles away.  It was gone midnight & she woke me to panic about a cat in the car park who was following them, mewling pitifully.  After a lengthy conversation of me reasoning with her to leave it outside as it would most probably have a home.  If not, no doubt it would still be there to be rescued in the morning. My parting comment to her & her boyfriend was “You’ll only do what you want anyway!”


Lo & behold, the following day they had a cat in an apartment where no pets were allowed.  The vet pronounced it a female in good health if a little thin & Sarah posted adverts hoping to find puss-cat’s owner.  She was saddened to receive many calls from people who had lost their cats, but not this one.

Kittens & mum

Meanwhile she became fond of this friendly black & white cutie, but was going on holiday abroad….  Mum, of course, borrowed a cat travel case & fetched kitty home.  Unfortunately although she was affectionate with people, she terrorised both our existing Chloe-cat & Hayley-dog.

But Sookie, as she was quickly named, thrived growing sleeker & fatter – too fat really with a round tummy.  Yep, this stray had obviously been thrown out because she was pregnant!  I was living with my son & daughter-in-law & they were delighted at the thought of kittens – they weren’t disappointed as you can see.

3 kittens needing a home

Post #20 Love & Sentiment

My father is still in hospital, on the stroke ward of the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, although he’ll be moved to Chesterfield as soon as there’s a bed available.  We’re hoping that he’ll be able to come home in a few days, but he has some loss of co-ordination with his left hand which is very frustrating as he’s left-handed.

Of course dad’s been in my thoughts a lot this weekend & then I noticed the coffee table which so reminds me of him.  I’ve been dusting this piece of furniture for as long as I can remember which is not surprising as it’s more than 50 years old & I haven’t got that far yet, not quite 😉

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My dad made this table for my mum, for their home when they married – I tried to capture the hand-carved hearts on either end.  The wood was from an old dining table found rotting in the outbuildings of the small-holding farm where my mum lived with her parents.  He salvaged as much useable timber as he could & this was the result.  It’s always been stained & varnished dark in my memory, with spills easily wiped down – would I ever strip it back to natural wood?  Maybe, but for now this is how I fondly remember it & love it

I’m pleased that it’s here in my home & proud that my mum entrusted it to me.  She doesn’t want it to leave the family & it won’t as my daughter will probably take care if it when I no longer can.  Like me, she loves belongings that have a history, story or sentimental value.  This means items in our homes don’t match, no Ikea-like beech effect throughout for us, or even trendy shabby-chic, but quirky pieces & a general mis-match of furniture that’s pleasing & comforting to us.  By no means are we replicating the style of the houses we were raised, but we’re definitely stamping our own personalities on our homes & everything doesn’t have to be all fresh & brand new, there’s still a place for certain favourites.

Post #19 “Everything’s All Right”

This is the view that I woke up to this morning – maybe not so very different to my photo of the frost on post 10, but the white is about 2 inches deeper!

Shortly after taking this photo, my mum phoned.  Not unusual to hear from her, but she began the conversation with “Everything’s all right.”  Now if ever there was a sentence that was just waiting for a “but”!

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So I provided it & asked what had happened, aware that the weather had been so atrocious, with ice & snow causing problems.  Accident, crumpled car, frozen pipes, flood or boiler breakdown all flashed through my mind.

She told me that my dad was OK now but had had a mild stroke the night before.  He was in hospital for observation, but unfortunately not either of the local ones as they didn’t have a stroke doctor on shift when it happened.  Anyway despite the snow, the nearest ambulance had arrived in less than 10 minutes & the roads were clear enough to drive the 25 miles to hospital.

By all accounts, he was examined, scanned & admitted very quickly & should be out in a couple of days.  His stroke was caused by a bleed, which apparently is not quite as serious as a clot & he does seem to have full use of his limbs & faculties.  This is most definitely a relief after losing my father-in-law to cancer very suddenly a month before Christmas.

It’s always a shock when our loved ones show their mortality, but we’re not all invincible.  I saw him recently & I’m in touch with my family regularly enough not to have any regrets if anything happened to any of them.  However, it’s important not to waste a minute, grab every opportunity, keep in touch with everyone you care about, show your love, offer help to others, accept help from them, look after your body, but also indulge occasionally.

End your day by thinking back through what you are grateful for & appreciate, no matter how small.  Start the new day with the same list & ensure you’re able  to add to it at bedtime.  Grab a pretty notebook or journal & write it down or use on of the ‘gratitude’ smartphone apps; print out the pocket gratitude diary from Leonie Dawson – I think her colourful workbooks are fantastic.

Post #18 Daffodowndilly

It’s snowing outside at the moment & photos this weekend are likely to be of the icy landscape, but giving a hint of the better weather to come I have a vase of bright yellow daffodils.  They are so beautiful & I just love them, which is why my daughter Sarah bought me a bunch – she’s so thoughtful 🙂

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Children tend to love tales of their parents’ or grandparents’ lives & she remembers the tale I told her about asking for a bunch of daffodils for my birthday when I was a child.  That’s all I wanted, daffodils.  I don’t know how difficult there were to obtain all those years ago in January, but with a child’s innocence, I wouldn’t have considered that.  Nowadays, due to importation from hotter climes & forced growth under glass, we can buy any kind of flower all year round.

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They are still a luxury to me & I really should buy more as a treat for myself.  However, my husband considers all cut flowers as ‘dead’ because as soon as you cut them, they are dying 😦  So after years of not being bought flowers, nor feeling comfortable taking them home myself, it’s hard to remember to do so now.

There’s a story about Sarah’s request for a birthday present too.  One year when she was little, all she wanted was a pretend birthday cake & a lollipop!  She got them of course.

Post #11 It’s Friday!

6pm Friday night & it’s been a good week.  Work from clients has been steady with no stressful deadlines or any crisis so I’ve been able to spread the tasks & take a break to walk the dogs whilst still daylight.  I can relax & just look – an empty house – I’m chilling already 🙂


It’s been lovely to spend some time with my husband & both dogs this last few days, but he doesn’t live with me & has taken Max & Hayley back to his house when I left for work this morning.  So as I now live alone for the first time, I’ve been able to step through my front door this evening with no demands waiting on my time or energy.

I thought I may have been afraid – you know, switching on all the lights, not daring to enter a room in the dark, cautious of unexpected noises, but no. From the moment I viewed the house it felt right, comfortable & my home.

I love being here.  I’d decided where I wanted to live, the area, even the street, based on practical considerations such as rental cost, access to public transport, proximity to family, view & options for good dog walks.  This was two years after my husband moved out, when we sold the family home & I moved in with my son & his fiance.  That was hard, although Rob & I had struggled to live together, I missed him, missed the close contact & having someone to hug & hug me.  My confidence was low & I was scared of the change.

Living with my son was difficult at times as the dynamics had changed.  Instead of me being able to decide decor, room layout & what to watch on TV etc, he owned the house & it was his choice.  I sat & cried the day we moved in.  Instead of feeling liberated & free with so few responsibilities, I couldn’t cope with the loss of control.  I was adrift & had no motivation.  It was a very low time & at that point I would’ve struggled to live alone as I’d never been on my own, but two years later, I was ready.

I set up viewings of three houses on my chosen street & this was the one I just knew was right – my gut told me so & it’s great when I come home, there’s no dirty dishes or an empty fridge & I can relax without interruption.

Blog #10 Winter Frost

Look at the frost this morning 🙂

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This is the view from my office window, which as I work from home most of the time, means the view from my spare back bedroom.  That’s why I chose this room to use as my office, even though it’s the largest.  The smaller front bedroom looks over the street, has enough room for a double bed, wardrobe & few chests of drawers which is perfectly cosy for sleeping.  For too long, with growing teenagers in the house & an insomniac husband, we’ve been surrounded by computers, sewing machines, TV & associated paraphernalia – not at all feng-shui.  So when I moved here, it was luxury to have a bedroom purely as a bedroom & as I spend longer working in daylight, it’s fantastic to have an open view.

We’ve had such a wet summer & winter so far, waking up to so many dreary, damp days, this is great! Give me a crisp, bright frosty morning any day.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to go for a long walk as I had far too much work to do, but far better that than too little & no income. It’s been a good day & I’m happy 🙂

Blog #7 Home Made Gift

This is a present from my daughter.

Labrador mug

A University graduate with a first in Journalism, she’s working in a pub! Considered under-experienced to be accepted for a job using her
education & degree but over-qualified for a role in an office or similar.  But then that’s a subject for a blog all of its own.

Anyway, working for minimum wage, she’s rarely even given full-time hours so she didn’t have a great deal of cash to spend on presents this Christmas.  But, ever resourceful & practical (just like her mum, of course), she decided all her family & friends would be given a home made present.

Take one plain white porcelain mug, paint it with blackboard paint & give together with chalks 🙂  All the silhouette images painted on the mugs were tailored to match her friends’ personalities – mine is a black labrador of course & here I’ve used my coloured chalks to decorate it.

Isn’t this a great idea?  Sarah may not have had the money to spend, but she’s willingly spent time researching & looking for something to
create, then sourcing all the items required to complete the gift.  I’m so proud that I’ve raised such a thoughtful & caring daughter & of
course, we all love our presents far more than it they had been merely bought at any cost. She gave a chess set to her boyfriend lovingly
constructed from Lego with Lord of the Ring characters facing the cast of Harry Potter.  It’s just a little confusing to play without a crib
sheet to remind them which character is standing in for each chess piece.

Love you Sarah XX

Blog #6 Happy Birthday

Well today’s post couldn’t be about anything else really as it’s my birthday 🙂


It’s not a milestone this year, but I’m not far off celebrating the big 50!  I don’t feel my age at all, not mentally anyway – I know more
than I ever have & I’m still learning, especially keeping up-to-date with technology & social media.  I’m big on self-development which is a
result of being in business for myself as I believe if I was still an employee, I doubt I’d have had the same opportunities to meet so many
fabulous people at networking meetings etc. & I wouldn’t have the same need for email marketing, to tweet or blog.

In my mind I’m still 29, an age when I was happy with my life, my decisions & super-confident in myself.   I cannot remember really thinking before then either, whereas now I tend to over-think the consequences of everything & agonise about every  decision, but that still doesn’t stop me making mistakes either! However, I live with them – they’ve made me who I am, I’ve learned from them & I refuse to dwell on the ‘what ifs’, ‘if onlys’, ‘should have’ or ‘shouldn’t haves’!

There’s lots need doing & many things I still want to do with my life, so before long, I’ll be making a list of what I’d like to achieve
this year.  I fell in love with these colourful workbooks from Leonie Dawson & have made a start on creating my incredible life & business.

The Christmas decorations & cards have now been taken down freeing-up room for my Birthday cards & I’ve spoken to lots of my family &
friends today whilst this evening my son & his wife are coming to visit after they both finish work & I’ve promised to cook my favourite
lasagne. It’s been a good birthday 🙂

Blog #2 A Cry for Help

First day back at work since before Christmas, so back into the routine of walking my black labrador in the pre-dawn dark before setting
off.  Half-way through the day, after I’d already had my lunch & my son called.  I do love to hear from him, even though it’s because he
usually needs something – even at 25 years old!

Now this is often a source of irritation to my husband & mum as they think he’s old enough to stand on his own two feet, especially now he’s married – surely he should be phoning his wife?  But for 25 years I’ve always been there to offer advice, listen to his rants, sooth his troubles etc & to be honest I’m honoured that he’s not too proud to ask for my help.  There’s been occasions when I could have saved him money & heartache, if only he asked first.  It’s a big learning curve being an adult & as his wife is only a year or two younger, she’s still finding out about the responsibilities of being a grown-up herself.  One time Ant even informed me that his dad had given him exactly the same advice as I’d offered – as we divorced when he was 5 years old, it’s only taken 20 years for us to agree on something!

Back to today’s photo

New LG PC Monitor

This isn’t my computer monitor, it was the reason for my son’s call.  Christmas present money burning a hole in his pocket, he’d found a sale bargain, but with two Argos stores in his home town, neither had his preferred choice in stock.  However, it just so happened that I was working 15 miles away in Chesterfield & the store there had just one remaining.  Now Ant did offer to drive across to purchase it himself, but as I was already in the town….

Of course I volunteered to pop out & collect it – wouldn’t you?  Then I also took it to him after work & had a lovely evening in their home
after watching his pleasure & excitement opening & setting it up.  Isn’t that what life is all about?  I get such a sense of satisfaction
helping others (which is why I enjoy working as a PA) & especially looking after my loved ones, even if it disrupts my plans sometimes.
Tonight I’m writing this in good company & having a laugh, rather than sat alone & I even had tea cooked for me – love you Ant 🙂

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