Thursday, 30 December 2010

Christmas 2010


Well it has come and gone and I have been too lazy to blog it all.  What a lovely Christmas for a change.  We had the traditionally Christmas lunch (I forgot to put out the cranberry sauce, its still in the fridge) complete with Brussels sprouts which I hate but don't you just love the way you buy them here in the countryside - still on the stalk?  They didn't even fit in the fridge but that's not a problem I have a 'new' fridge outside, outside the back door keeps everything cold to near freezing ;)

All for Erin - the big box was actually her Blackberry .


Kylie our visitor from South Africa broke out the scrapbooking stash and created these stunning bows.

Scott received some Zuma body wash - brilliant!
Erin's new Blackberry and she also got a little Eiffel Tower to remind her of Paris.


The Brussels sprouts, I split up the leaves and sauteed them in with chopped bacon and a knob of butter.


I love this pic of Erin no make-up and happy as can be, she is a treasure!


Scott got me this stunning Union Jack cushion that I have had my eye on for ages.  So that's it I am sticking with my jewel colour scheme, you may have noticed the one Persian is back again :)


Erin vamping it up with her new floral handbag.


Wednesday, 22 December 2010

1 Year Today

We left South Africa.  Where has the time gone.  For this anniversary post I thought I would list all the things that I miss about South Africa and a couple that I don't and then tomorrow do the same for my new homeland.

I MISS

  • Very obviously my friends. Some more than others.
  • Sushi OMG how I miss sushi and the fantastic sushi bars that you get in and around Cape Town and my favourite - Willougbys at the Waterfront. Try the prawn tempura pure heaven.
  • The restaurants in general, I certainly haven't been to many here (and of course remembering that we live in the sticks) but I still think the South African restaurants are better.
  • Seeing the baboons in the Tokai forest.
  • The squirrels in my garden.
  • Drying my washing in the sun - I can't tell you how much I miss that.  Here my whites seem to be getting very grey - sorry to throw in that very domestic problem here.
  • Familiar faces.  I have started to bump into people in the village that I know but there is no real history with people.
  • Cheap good wine!!!!
  • The tap water, the water in the East of Suffolk is full of limescale and it's tastes very salty. YUCK.
I DONT MISS
  • The car guards!
  • People trying to grab my trolley when I come out of a supermarket.
  • The people selling stuff at the robots (traffic lights in the UK).
  • The school fees.
  • The medical aid fees.
  • The doom and gloom in the newspapers.
  • The SABC news reports and reporters.
  • Seeing needy, desperate people everyday.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

30 Years Today

My Dad died 30 years ago today - one week before Christmas, he was just 49.  One of the reasons my Mum doesn't get all that excited about Christmas. 

I had just turned 18 and I remember it being such a busy 'teenage' time, I was learning to drive and in fact got my license a few days before he died.  Writing this now I cant remember whether he knew about my first car - a beetle.   I had a steady boyfriend (Bruce - my ex husband) so I was fully caught up in that relationship too although I have to add that Bruce spent many hours sitting at my Dads bedside and even carried him down our very tight staircase once he had passed away.  He is may be my ex but he has some wonderful qualities, fortunately qualities that I see in my son Devin.

I can't say I miss my Dad he has been gone so long and was part of my life for such a short time, but I do remember him very well, he had the most amazing sense of humour and made people laugh at every opportunity.  Scott is not particularly humorous but there is definitely a bit of my Dad in him - certainly his sense of style!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Playing Santa

I have been a bit busy the last 2 weeks with a little project I took on - playing Santa.  Okay, no I am not dressing up in a red and white costume (I know it is entirely possible with me) but I am essentially  playing Santa - I am delivering Christmas online orders for the top UK online stores ie. Next, Freemans, Lands End, Amazon, Topshop, Oli, Asos to name a few.  I wasn't going to blog about it because at first I was a little embarrassed, just a little aftermath of being ex South African - white woman do not rush around delivering ANYTHING let alone parcels.  Anyhow, I have gotten over myself and here I am telling the story.  I took the job because it is short term, 6 weeks, the pay is approximately what I was being paid before (per hour).  I work for about 4 hours a day and it is not permanent.  Surprise surprise I really enjoyed it for the first week.  99% of the people I deliver to are seriously pleased to see me.  1% are arrogant pigs!  and of course its the 1% that are pissing me off - big time!

What a fantastic experience.  One of the things I love about myself is my ability to get stuck in when necessary and make do.  I have a fairly small area, a pretty upmarket town - Framlingham.  The people I have met and had a little glimpse into the homes of, are amazing.  What a great opportunity to really get to know an area.  Getting to know a town in the UK can be quite trying to say the least.   2 4 6 8 running down one side of a street does not mean that 1 3 5 7 will be across the street - a few blocks down with 37 39 41 53 59 across the street is quite normal.  A street name and a town is an address - period!

After struggling for ages to find an 'exclusive' address 'The Vicarage' Parham, I asked the woman why she didn't have any sign up?  She replied 'I am not putting a sign up for a couple of Christmas deliveries, everyone knows The Vicarage, you should have knocked on a few doors in the village and someone would have told you where we were'.  Such incredible arrogance to think that I should be prepared to 'find' her.  Incredible house - I could see a murder mystery happening right there :) Another 'The Gospel Hall', after 3 phone messages to them they finally called to 'explain' where they were.  When I arrived there this morning I was told that I must be an idiot if I can't see that the house used to be a Gospel Hall!!!!  I told her that if she was planning to do any more online shopping she will not be receiving the goods.  Strange that both places are named after religious venues, but more importantly to me is the fact that both appear to be upper crust or 'wealthy' money does some horrible things to people. Delivering to little old ladies and ordinary people in miserable flats and dodgy council houses is way nicer, they can't praise you enough for bringing their latest QVC TV purchase.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

2010 Cookery Book Collection

Now I can just imagine certain readers of mine wont even read this post but for a few of the others (Hayley, Shayne....) here goes.

Firstly, I only buy celeb cook books I don't do the '100 best chicken receipes' type books, this year Jamie is tops he has really outdone himself with his new 30 Minute Meals.  Okay, so it is tough to create his menus in 30 mins but whatever they take they are so worth doing. Jamie also has my dud of the year Jamie does Spain, Italy, Greece etc. so if anyone out there wishes to pay the postage I will happily pay that one forward? 


If you haven't discovered Rachel yet, then you are missing out, fabulous both Home Cooking and Bake.

Then there's the Hummingbird Cookery Book which I have to confess I haven't used yet but I have paged through it a couple of times. I am sure it is fabulous but I think Shayne could show them a thing or two certainly in terms of decoration.


Last but normally not least my beloved Nigella with her Kitchen which just hasn't managed to blow my hair back yet but given time I am sure it will, I find that it takes me sometime to get into a new book by Nigella because I am so attached to her others.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Guess what I got?



Mistletoe! I have never seen the stuff before. We are not the kissest of families but I hope to catch my teens under it a few times. The ceiling is so low in this house that attaching it to the door frame is going to be a problem so I will have to attach it to the ceiling in the lounge. Christmas is going to be fun!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

What would you do?

video

Okay so I have been banging on about this for years but it seems to have taken a more sinister turn. I keep the house relatively spotless and leave the kids rooms and bathrooms but the other day I rushed out and left the house in a real mess. Erin got home and called me and the first thing she said was - 'why is the house such a mess?' She is also leaving more personal stuff just lying around for all to see. I have tried taking away all her luxuries ie. laptop, cell phone, ipod and now even TV and she just digs her heels in and refuses to do it. So far we are even civil with each other on it.

Christmas Time


I am really starting to miss my girlfriends. I am in the midst of the Christmas madness that people speak of, but I have ended up feeling all low and depressed. Things are just getting to me, this will be our first Christmas in 3 years that the immediate family will be together so that is exciting but then there is the other side of it that I am sure you have all experienced from time to time - where to have it? I am going to have Christmas lunch in my house with my kids come hell or high water, my Mum was hoping to have it in her house so that she didn't have to go anywhere! She has my brother and his family living with her at the moment and his son and girlfriend are going to be there from London so that's 6 altogether. So why am I missing my girlfriends? a good natter is what I need with someone that KNOWS me.
The pic is from Christmas years ago, probably the last time it was Christmas for me!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Snow pics



These are pics I took of the school run outside the house at 8.45am, don't you just love the toboggans? These children normally come down the road on scooters and you hear them long before you see them. One of the delights of being at home now, I had never seen them until I gave up work.
Erin has just called, her bus hasn't arrived and she has gone home with a friend. Chaos I tell you! Very pretty chaos though.
BTW for all of us that thought that Brit women were fat, these Mums are very typical around here.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Me doing a David Attenborough

Please excuse my whiny voice - I sound a bit like Attenborough, about to bore you to tears.

video

Week 47

How time flies when you don't work.

Robin's funeral went off without a hitch on Monday morning. DH and Scott were pall bearers and we all had to laugh as DH and Scott are so tall and Robins son and partner so short DH nearly knocked the wreath off the top of the coffin on entry into the chapel. My poor Mum sobbed all the way through, thank God I was there to comfort her. Robin's son had flown out from SA to be there and it has been an awful week for my Mum as he has spent most of the week since the funeral 'cleaning her out'. All of Robin's personal possessions were left to him so he is selling them to second hand shops etc. before he goes back to SA today (Sat). He has even taken the paintings off the walls and been through all the nick knacks in the display cabinet to check which pieces he could get a quick buck for.

Wednesday my brother (he has just moved here from SA) asked me to drive him to an interview our side of London. I of course agreed and off I went at 8.30am. I got back at 7.30pm from a 128 km journey!!!! We got stuck on the notorious M25 on the way home. We were sitting in my car surrounded by trucks and cars for HOURS for periods of up to half an hour without moving an inch. All I can say is that I was so glad I hadn't had much to drink.

We are going out tonight to our American friends for a Thanksgiving dinner. Should be interesting pumpkin pie and all that.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Flamingos

Isn't that just amazing? Nature getting all creative!

Last week - 46

  • Well the first night in the hotel was dreadful note to self: Never stay in a hotel that is frequented by business men (that pay their own bills) and when asked what they think of the hotel they reply - 'its fine'. Men are just so not discerning about these things. Lumpy mattress - ' didn't notice!!!' Must have been pissed!
  • Got lost on my way to the head office on Monday morning, my Tom Tom was telling me to turn into houses that had seen a couple of changes in centuries. Final got there late, I hate being late especially for something like this. Spent 4 days of training on animal nutrition and hey presto - I can't believe there was so much to learn.
  • The company took us out for a slap up meal on the Tuesday night, had a absolutely ball - I am beginning to feel human again.
  • Driving home on Thursday night made me realise how blessed we are to live in Suffolk, it is such a beautiful part of the UK. I reckon that this sleepy, peaceful way of life has made our transition just so much easier. The area we live in is officially entitled 'an area of outstanding natural beauty' - it certainly is.
  • I went out 'canvassing' with DH on Friday and it was no- where near as difficult as I thought it would be, I didn't do too well though but it didn't put me off.
  • Scott has got himself a job as a waiter at the very posh hotel in village. He believed he would get a job in the village and he did - I have to hand it to him, jobs for teens are hard to come by and one paying tips as well as the minimum wage even more sought after. He walked in with his CV and asked to see the owner and a couple of calls later he pulled it off.
  • Scott was also invited by a friends family to watch rugby at Twickenham on Saturday, he is really settling in well and even bought himself an England scarf but said he would be very torn when England play South Africa, I think we will find him in the SA camp.
  • Erin and I went shopping for clothes for her at Primark (bit like Mr. Price) on Sunday, she got loads of stuff including a gorgeous pair of sexy lace up ankle boots. She wore them straight away but really struggled with the amount of attention she seemed to attract, she is so used to walking around in jodphurs and flat horsey boots. She sure scrubs up well and given time I am sure she will get used to it.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Our Christmas 2010 TV advert - John Lewis

I just love this ad - this is Christmas for me!
Please let me know how I should have inserted this so that it looks the way its supposed to look on my blog!!

Our Christmas 2010 TV advert - John Lewis

Busy Week

  • Friday I ran around most of the day with funeral arrangements. I started off at the hospital, stopped in at the ward to collect Robin's personal items, the nurse gave me a bag and I took the long trek back to my car. My bloody knee is killing me at the moment so everything I do is a bit of a drag. Got to my car put the bag in the boot and had a 'blink moment' that I should check the contents. Lots of very neatly folded nighties, an old radio and lots of ladies toiletries - not Robin's stuff! Put more money in the parking meter and took the trek back to the ward again. Had a laugh (love that Brit expression) with the staff that the bag couldn't possibly belong to Robin unless there was a side to him I didn't know about.
  • Drove around to the other side of the hospital to the 'registration office' for the bereaved. Signed for and received all the official documents and then headed off to Ipswich to my appointment with the 'Registrar of Deaths'. Got there early so I couldn't resist taking a walk down to the shops - bloody knee was killing me by the time I got back to the registrar (Kirsty - HELP). Spent a hour getting all that done, took a little longer than necessary as the registrar was ex South African so we had a good natter.
  • I am - for purposes of the records Robins step-daughter LOL I hope that applies to the will!
  • Then took the walk over to the Undertakers to give them their official documentation and to go over the final cremation date and time. I decided to have his ashes divided amongst two containers so that his son can take some back to SA.
  • Head over to the other side of Ipswich to drop off a death cert with the Attorneys (Solicitors here darhling).
  • Today I have driven up to Preston near Manchester (where I was born) to attend the training course for DH's business. I swear when I checked in I could have been checking in at Fawlty Towers - if I have the guts I may take a pic or two - so funny.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Undertakers

My Mum is one of the most disorganised people I have ever known so it went without saying that I would organise the funeral. It went like this..
  • On Sunday night I informed my Mum that we had a meeting with the undertakers on Monday at her house. Shock and disbelief that I had organised it so quickly? My Mum couldn't believe that these people are on call 24 hrs a day. My Mum is the type of person that if she needs an appointment for something she goes to the relevant place and books it.
  • A very nice lady/girl came to see us - she had no make-up on and I swear she looked about 16 but she knew her stuff.
  • Within minutes my Mum had asked a stupid question ie. 'Oh I wont be able to go and register his death - what if there is no parking outside.' I reminded her that I was doing the organising and that she would be doing nothing!
  • I chose a dark wood coffin - my Mum looked at it and wailed noooo he wanted a basket/woven one. Sorted that, supposedly more eco friendly and of course came with the eco friendly price tag of 500 pounds, btw he is being cremated.
  • We then got to what he would wear. I set her off when she started waffling on about how non of his clothes fitted him anymore by saying 'not to worry Mum they will pin all the excess cloth to the back' (she is having an open coffin at the service because his son who flies out tonight from SA didn't get to see him).
  • Scott thinks the open coffin is a really cool idea because he has never seen a dead person!
  • We chose a spray for the coffin - took forever because my Mum couldn't choose the colour of the flowers.
  • The poor undertaker made a 'he had a good life then' type comment due to him being 80 and that set my Mum off again because she didn't think 80 was a good innings?
  • This is my Mums 3rd partner to die so we got to hear the interesting differences between these nearly 3 ceremonies. Her first husband was a Iranian Muslim and died 6 months after they married of typhoid.
  • Special requests - Robin wanted a stake driven through his heart to ensure that he is dead! There were no takers on that one.

I called the attorneys handling his estate (considerable) yesterday to inform them and ask them to arrange the reading of the will before Robin's son goes back to SA - he told me I have been watching too many Hollywood movies and that there was no such thing, each person would be informed individually.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Robin

Poor old Robin finally lost his battle with Parkinson's amongst other things on Sunday morning. I am sure going to miss him and my poor Mum has just lost her partner of 21 years and her friend for 30 odd. They worked together for years before getting together.
I am organising the funeral - something I have never had to do, I am meeting with the undertakers this afternoon. I also have to collect Robins son from Heathrow airport tomorrow - what have I let myself in for?
Quick question - my dim witted nephew (I am furious) put RIP Robin on his facebook status with 20 minutes of him passing away!! We had a couple of annoyed callers. I made a comment on his status very politely saying that some things do not need to be announced on fb! I see he has deleted me as a 'friend'. Who's right here?


Thursday, 4 November 2010

Persian Carpets

I have had my Persians for years and years - I love them but I am really sick of them! What should I do? Storing them is a problem, I have lost 2 in the past by putting them at the top of the cupboard with a couple of moth balls when I went back 2 years later the carpets had all but disappeared. I have 2 problems with my collection at the moment firstly they are really too big for our little house and the house is carpeted so they are sitting on top of carpet which is not ideal and secondly, I am so wanting a new fresher look in the place. I have lifted them this morning and now I am wondering what to do, I am only sentimental about one of them which has been in DH's family since he can remember but the others I bought myself so no big deal other than we are so used to seeing them lying around.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Last Weekend

It seems that Halloween is HUGE here so we got into the swing of things and Erin spent ages carving pumpkins. I bought a massive one (it took 3 people to lift it into my boot) from the farmer across the road from work before I left, and after Erin had carved it on Friday night Scott and I rolled it to the front door and dropped it the few cms to the step - it broke! Sh.... she is so sweet natured though and was laughing in seconds and just carved a whole lot of little ones.



The clocks fell back a hour on Sunday too so of course it was dark before I knew it and I almost missed the festivities back home as I had taken Mum up to the hospital to see Robin. He is not looking very good and in fact didn't even wake up whilst we were there, my Mum was very teary too when she saw him - I think it is sinking in. Fun and games in the hospital ward too, the guy across the way decided to have a poo, lovely stuff, trust me it's really difficult to behave normally when all that is going on. Another old duck had an Alzheimer's rage with one of the sisters too - it was very amusing and very sad. I noticed we were the only visitors too - wonder why?



We had people around for dinner again on Saturday so our social life is picking up. They are the people that Erin rides with ie. they own the horses. Very interesting couple he is one of the original top guns in the American Air Force and has just stepped down into his first office job. She is a 'bat' specialist and is licensed to do 'bat' inspections, she invited me along to one this week. I wouldn't say I like bats but they don't scare me and after hearing her talk about them, they are certainly fascinating creatures - a bat can consume 5000 mosquitoes a day, now that is a cure for malaria.

Friday, 29 October 2010

A while back...

Sometime back in September on my way home from work I passed this rather eccentric couple and after a few times I thought 'bugger it' I am going to stop and ask them if I could take a couple of pics. They were only too happy as they were terribly proud of their gorgeous gypsy caravan. Have a look at the details, quite stunning, the little bird in the cage, the photo of the grandchildren, fresh flowers on the step! The couple were not actually gypsies just retired and do this every summer. They hook up their two horses to pull the caravan from village to village but they drive the horses in a truck with the caravan towed behind to get to their 'holiday' spot. The joys of the English countryside.





Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Its been a week

I have been at home for a week already - where has the time gone?  I ended up with a head cold on Thursday and Friday and then a headache from hell on Saturday so I only starting feeling like a sahm from Monday.  So far so good, I am loving it.  Of course I have spent way too much time cleaning and shining things but I am sure that will wear off in time (was that a pun?)  The kids are also off this week (mid term) so perfect timing I have done a good few lifts already, in fact I am going to have to remind the kids that the trains are still running. 

Mums 'lover' is back in hospital - poor soul basically collapsed on Sunday night and was collected by an ambulance.  My mum seems to think that he is going to get 'better' and that he just needs feeding up!  I tried to explain to her (without being too cruel) that hey he is having to be feed, wears padded undergarments and drinks out of a baby cup that maybe its his time.  I really don't think he his happy with his situation and seems fully aware of it which is heart breaking to watch.   Once again, me being at home now couldn't have come at a better time.