Tuesday, 30 November 2010

De-Ja-Vu.............. or what!!

Well I should have blogged a good week ago - but you know what? Life has a funny way of going 'just stop right there'! And so this last couple of days has seen me bouncing in and out of hospital again with my chest playing silly buggers already into this winter. Back from Jersey just two days and a quick treble nine into Torbay hospital to try to get me breathing properly, followed by another visit Sunday. This is the third time my chest has been poorly following flying, but what are you supposed to do - live in a bubble??? Anyway, as I sit here in our office snuggled up in scarf, thick socks and long woolly pully, (as well as other clothes of course!) my breathing is showing signs of being a bit more normal today and so hopefully I'm on the road to recovery again.

So lets start with that irony of irony's - the fundraising night for Salcombe First Responders - my very own personal ambulance service - or at least its starting to feel that way..... a fantastic night with £1500 raised and a photo and write up in the local paper the day after I had to use them again.......... Local traders and hoteliers, St Austell brewery and individuals were so very generous with gifts and customers were buying £20 - £30 worth of tickets at a time. We donated every single penny or prize money as well as providing the buffet and entertainment, and everyone agreed that it was a totally splendid night. Here are two of my friends JD and Debbie enjoying a chat at the bar of our newly re-furbished function room.

After that, well off to Jersey for a nice long romantic weekend together - Jersey at its best? Well maybe not at it's best but it was certainly nice enough. Mind you for what we spent we could have had a week in the Maldives probably but let's not dwell on that shall we!!

We stayed at a superb hotel - Hotel de France - in St Helier. I should know better than to believe what Trip Advisor says given my previous love / hate relationship with TA but the hotel had certainly had a couple of dodgy reviews, but I'm relieved and delighted that any fears I had were completely unjustified!

The hotel was very central and whilst not quite a 5 star in my opinion it was an excellent 4 star. Lovely staff, great food and an end bedroom away from the lifts........ A previous bad experience next to a lift has scarred us for life!!!!!! There is nothing worse than laying awake at one in the morning listening to lift shafts clanking away!

The main restaurant in this hotel is 'Saffron' a spice / Indian themed place, in which we had some of the best flavours ever in that style of food. But it was Saturday that was to give us the most incredible food experience ever.......... And that experience was 'Bohemia'!

Set in the main area of St Helier, Bohemia is a Michelin star restaurant led by Sean Rankin, one of the better celeb chefs. With the best customer service I've experienced
In a long time, our evening started with the most delicious canapes and pre-dinner drinks, and the whole evening was one of pure food theatre.
My personal favourite was the smoked Chocolate Tortellini with Venison - all I can say is wow!!! And a Cheese board (to die for - see pic of my choices....... can't you almost smell it???!). SOH's favourite part of the meal was the whole package - but his pudding which was a Pear / Frangipan dish was just fabulous and my pictures in no way do the food justice.

Dining in a Michelin starred restaurant is something that I've only ever dreamt about but I loved every moment of our evening at Bohemia. It was romantic, we were looked after, there was absolutely nothing to fault. The food itself was sublime and really reasonable at just under £50 each for the 3 courses, but supplements and of course the drinks made it a night you couldn't afford too often........ But truly a night to remember!

I'm pleased to report that we made a difference to the Jersey economy with a few purchases, particularly in the Jersey Pearl area where SOH bought me the most beautiful Gold, Diamond and Pearl earings and the use of a hire car meant we saw most parts of this pretty island including some of the pretty amazing war tunnels.

So then, for the time being it's continued rest , but hopefully cracking on with the driving lessons later this week and a test somewhere before Christmas, as well as think about Christmas itself...... the planned trip to Portsmouth this week to say hello to my gorgeous son and his wife will have to wait now but hopefully we can find a Sunday before Christmas to have our own little Christmas together.......Till then everyone, keep warm and as dry as possible in this icy snap!

Much Love x x x

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Lest we forget..........

It really must be something to do with getting older but for the last few years in particular I have found Remembrance Sunday to be particularly poignant, and I have spent a lot of time today trying to think why that is............There is certainly the element of my new found spirituality, but there is also something I guess about getting older and have a much better understanding of life in general - at least I think that's what it is............

I can remember my dear Mum watching the telly and getting a little bit 'sniffly' over this special Sunday but never wanting to talk about 'the old days' or be seen to be getting to 'soppy' about it. I can also remember being vaguely bored by the whole process of old men marching and much preferring to read a book or go and moon over the latest 'Jackie' magazine...........

Yet nowadays, I feel myself more and more drawn to wanting to know and be able to understand more about the terrible first and second world wars and the conflicts in between and those going on today. I suppose there is also a certain understanding of how dreadful Mans inhumanity to Man can be, and a certain sadness that I as an individual can do so little to stop it happening??

Today up at the Salcombe Remembrance Sunday Service I looked out across the 'Bar' at the entrance to our harbour during the two minutes silence, where the waves where crashing across it, the rain was lashing down and the wind blowing a gale and I thought of my own dear Father: Ernest Samuel Williams. A Welsh miner who served in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) for 3 years in the war and then went on to be part of the D Day landings. I can never begin to think what life must have be like for him and some of the sheer terror he would have known. So my thoughts were of my Daddy - they were also for all the Mum's today who have lost their beautiful young sons in more recent conflicts. Those who will never again be able to pick up the phone and say 'I Love you Son'.

So I guess today's blog is a little sad and possibly even self indulgent, but I so wanted to share with you 2 poems that have been written by children from schools in the Ivybridge area and organised (I think) by the Royal British Legion, Ivybridge. my SOH bought a copy at a recent meeting he went too in Ivybridge.

But first, let me urge all of you to consider the great work that the Royal British Legion do for Servicemen, ex-servicemen and their families. The RBL is not a great sexy 'in' charity, this is a long burning charity with great history itself. They work quietly and with amazing fortitude. They help those of all ages and in all circumstances. They help get monies from the Government that otherwise would go unclaimed, they help ex-servicemen & women who have fallen on hard times, who need assistance with medical and housing issues - and sadly as wars continue to happen and our service people get ever more injured or killed leaving families that need their help - then theirs is a Charity needed more now than ever. Please remember to support them as much as possible.

Now to these two amazing poems out of many very simple but incredibly moving poems, written I think by children of Primary School age. If after you've read them you would like a copy for yourself, then they are just £3 and if you send me your address I would be happy to get you a copy.

'Mixed Emotions' - Callum Duffy

Mixed emotion is light Blue
It tastes like sweet chilli sauce dancing on my tongue
It smells like musty perfume
Mixed emotion looks like a rainbow on a stormy day glinting in the sky!
Mixed emotion makes me feel like I am in a tropical thunderstorm
Mixed emotion makes me thank all the soldiers that have lost their lives
Sadness brews in my belly as I put that Poppy upon my body
As I feel the sadness grow and grow
I will know to thank you though

'Remember Me' - Bethany Madge

Seasons may pass, yet I am always here
Underneath this grave I shed a small tear
But do not cry for me my dear wife
Although, I am not alive my spirit is still full of life
Still remembering every kind thing that you do
You remember me and I will always remember you

Friday, 5 November 2010

Mountains and Molehills...............

This is my last blog post before I'm yet another year older tomorrow, and this is the picture I liked most with as many candles as possible............ No kidding around - I'm 54 tomorrow, and you know what? Where the heck have the last 4 years gone since I turned 50???? I'll tell you where they've gone........... they've turned into a million differing memories! Most of those 4 years memories are really lovely, happy and exciting, a few are so awful and so horrendous I wish that I could forget them, whilst some are downright mundane but mostly it's been 4 years of fun, love, happiness, new friendships and exciting new adventures! I just hope the next 6 don't go as fast.........

Our great friends Lisa & Phil visited the other week (remember she's the professional photographer who did our wedding pics - http://www.lisabeaneyphotography.com/ ) and I got her to take a couple of shots of me to celebrate being a good stone and a half lighter now than I was this time last year - I particularly love this black and white one ........... Now don't you think that's the smile of a woman who's happy with her life???
Talking of new adventures etc - I had a couple of firsts yesterday.......... the biggest, I passed my driving theory exam!! Phew - now I've got to pass the big proper one, and all I'll say is that it's before Christmas (it's great for the diet!!) and secondly, last night I went to my first proper wine tasting event with SOH and our great friends Carl & Clare.
Now, having been to a distillery in Scotland a couple of years ago and getting distinctly pie eyed very quickly you would think I might have learnt??? Um No................ I went out with great intentions - a little sip, then make some comments about the clarity and smell etc and move on?
Yes?? NOOOOOO!! Firstly, the gentlemen pouring the drinks were fairly generous and secondly, there were over 70 wines, assorted Champagnes and spirits!! Well I ask you - whats a woman to do???
Our glorious local Sharpham Vineyard were there and I fell in love with their Rose and Pinot Noir, then there were some fabulous new World wines, then of course there were the French wines, the Argentinian wines oh yes, and the pudding wines...................then some superb Strawberry Liqueur, Marmalade Vodka, £50 Gin (that's its name) and then of course I just had to taste at least 4 maybe 5 whiskies......... do you get the picture????? Oh - did I mention the Plum Saki as well - I had seconds of that..........Needless to say, I had a good rosy glow on me and the journey home was amazingly fast! NO - of course I wasn't driving!!!!
What else this week - I was sworn in as Church Warden on Sunday by the Arch Deacon. I know, you're thinking how will she find the time?? Well, I want to put something back into my Church - it's given me a lot and now I can give a bit back. Church Warden means you're responsible for the smooth running of the Church, getting jobs done that need doing and ejecting drunks - eh voila I have the perfect job experience!! Yes and just re-reading this, I wonder how appropriate it is to talk about being tiddled and a Church Warden in the same blog post.......... ho hum........
Moving on, next week (Saturday 13th) we are having a special Gala evening at the Victoria for my favourite charity - Salcombe First Responders. Tickets have sold out and the shops and business's have been exceedingly generous with raffle prizes and gifts. My favourite celeb Nick Knowles has donated a signed DIY SOS tee shirt and picture - all I have to do now is find a way of making sure I put the highest bid in for it! St Austell brewery have also donated an Ipod shuffle, so it should be a fantastic evening.
Now then, going back to the title of my blog this week - Mountains and Molehills. This refers to my driving. I plucked up the courage to go out in Betsy last week without my instructor Guy and have been out 3 times now - twice with girl friends and once with SOH! I think driving with SOH in the passenger seat may well be the quickest way to a divorce, so I don't think we'll do it too often - but I am absolutely loving the driving........ the driving that is - NOT the reversing! So today, my lovely instructor Guy, says 'well we'll just practice that then won't we'..... and considering I need to be able to reverse for the test (oh yes, and driving in general!) that's what we did!
Oh dear - I had a little bit of a tantrum.........I couldn't get that little 8ft 8inches of car into 2 parallel lines!! To the point I almost burst into tears...... :( But did Guy flinch?? Not a bit of it. he made me do it again. And again. And again................ and I BLOODY WELL DID IT!!!! I at last got it!!! What did he say??? I quote' Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill!' unquote....... Bless him!!
So on that happy note - it's goodnight from me and it's goodnight from Rosie sat curled up at my feet with one beady eye watching every move I make hoping I'll stand up, get my coat and take her out...... come on then Rosie get your lead.
Till the next one dear lovely readers............ X