Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cats in the Outside World, 29 Nov 2007

It's been a somewhat miserable day. However, we decided to go outside and do a bit of work to chase away the cobwebs. Jim went down to the orchard and sawed up some of the ash tree he'd felled earlier in the year, into logs. He then barrowed it up to the barn and wielded an axe to chop them into smaller, Stanley sized pieces. It reminded me of a scene from Lady Chatterley!

I took the cats out into the front. They were not sure at all and BlackJack didn't stay out long. We'd brought their bed into the porch and it wasn't long before he was cowering back in it, all snug and warm, and that's where he stayed! Sandy was much more adventurous, following Jim into the barn and exploring all around there. He did eventually join Blackjack in their bed! In the garden, I generally cut down dead plants and flowers, trimmed up the hanging baskets and pulled weeds out. It started raining quite hard and I was cold, so around 4.30 I went inside, much to the relief of 2 little worried cats.

BJ is now on my shoulder and Sandy on my knee. Lovely.

Spent the evening watching a bit of tv, having great dinner of pasta with onions, mushrooms, pepper and chopped up sausages. Mmmm. Watched 'I'm a Celeb. Get me out of here'!! Now down to the last 3. Christopher Biggins is great and I hope he wins.

Cut up some of Jim's old pants ready for rug making or weaving. Probably do some weaving I think. Kittens were hilarious all evening, full of mischief and fun. Sandy hid behind the kitchen curtain and attacked BlackJack as he passed! Great game.

I woke up early on 30th Nov (Friday), it's now 7.25am. Cats on my knee, Stanley blazing and all's well with the world.

Cats n Vets, Rain and Rats, Nov 28th 2007

There are times, like now, when the cats drive you up the wall. I'm busy trying to catch up on my blog and they keep landing on my lap and nudging my hands. Black Jack has just put both his front paws in their water! Today I took them to the vets in Gort for a general consultation, to find out what sex they are and generally make sure they're ok. Sandy hated every minute of it and has sulked all evening. To be fair, he had his first vaccination and I think it made him poorly for a while. Now he's back to his usual self. They're chasing a grape about now! They both had ear mites so ears were washed out and squirted with 'stuff'. Fleas were sprayed and worms wormed! The black and white one is a male, so is Black Jack for good now. I always had girlie cats before, now I have 2 boys. BlackJack is too young for his vaccination, so they both go back on December 19th, BJ for his 1st and Sandy for his 2nd (and last). It didn't cost a fortune as we thought. All excellent stuff.

The rain and wind are back with avengance today too.

Jim's been trying to draw up plans for the alterations to our cottage but blamed the cats for him not having got very far!

Jim was sitting watching tv in the snug and he heard the rat/s again. One also poked its head through a hole in the kitchen ceiling yesterday. These cats will have to get bigger and do their job!

Bit of material cutting up this evening for my next craft project. Some sort of basket with re-cycled materials I think. Should be fun.

I look down and BJ is back on my lap. No idea how he arrived there. Crafty little thing.

Couple more goes at Scrabble on Facebook then off to bed.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lap Cats, Limerick and Laughter, Nov 27th 2007

I've heard of lap dogs but we seem to have lap cats! If you put them down they meow to be picked up again. I have both of them on my lap at the moment and it makes it a bit awkward to type! Smudge (was Blackjack, name change this afternoon) keeps sliding down and almost falling off!

We decided to go to Limerick today to pick up some kitten supplies, a proper litter tray (instead of a cardboard box), some kitten toys and some more food. A new Tesco has opened on a trading estate outside the town. We found it without any trouble, but the whole place was deserted! Only Tesco has opened so far and it was a rainy Tuesday, so half the stock was being reduced. We bought some bits and bobs but there's only so much reduced stuff you can eat! We had to laugh. Did they have any cat toys? Not a bit of it. We headed off to another estate where there's a huge Dunne's store. Did they have any cat toys? Naaaaa. Perhaps they don't do cat playing in Ireland. More likely chuck them out and tell them to play with the rats! Ah well, we did call in MacDonalds for a much needed coffee and a muffin and had a good laugh about the rather wasted day.

I tried to get on with the 2nd hat I need to knit for Christmas for Jim's other daughter, but Smudge quickly decided the wool was just too tempting, so I gave up on that idea. Jim monopolised the computer all evening so I watched some tv and looked at some craft books. I tied 2 wooden beads on wool to the kitchen chair and the 2 kittens provided us with much amusement chasing them about in circles! We'll try and find a vet tomorrow to get them checked over.

Must get to bed, tired now.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx BT

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

KITTENS Kittens, Kittens, Nov 26th 2007

Well, the big news of the day is that we picked up 2 kittens from our neighbours Pete and Sandra. They did have 9 cats at one time! While we've been away, 2 of their black and white kittens have been adopted and the ginger tom they had has disappeared. They had a gorgeous ginger kitten (which we looked after when they were away, as it hadn't long been born) and a wicked little black and white kitten we hadn't seen before! They had come to call it 'little shit' as, tiny as it was, it was a proper bully to all the other cats! So we came home with gingin and the little monster, now named Blackjack! Of course they are utterly gorgeous and have kept us entertained all evening. You would think they had lived here since birth, they seem so at home. Our neighbours keep their cats outside, but we like them inside too. They quickly settled down and have spent most of the evening curled up on my lap on the settee!

Blackjack teases the life out of Gingin, then mews pitifully when Gingin gets fed up and bites his ears! We have taken loads of photos of course, and will download some soon. Their bed is a banana box, which has little cut out sides. Blackjack uses them as windows and pokes his paws out of them as Gingin passes! We don't know what sex Blackjack is but will take them to the vets later this week and arrange vaccinations, etc and having them 'done' at the appropriate age. Pete called Sandra out to the garden yesterday and Blackjack was dragging a rat around by its throat. It's no bigger than my hand at the moment!!

The amazing thing is, as these 2 have always lived outside, they have never used a litter tray. We put one down in our kitchen and both of them used it straight away. Phew! One problem solved. We'll keep them in for a couple of days so they don't wander straight back down to Sandra and Petes' house. Let them realise they live here now.

Apart from that, Jim's been shopping for supplies, baked some bread, fabulous as usual. I've swept up flies from our bedroom and generally sorted the remaining things we brought back from the UK into new homes. Gingin is trying to pull the bedding from the banana box through the little 'window'! How boring am I going to get about these two?!

Oh we also cut up lots of wood in the barn for Stanley.

Off to download piccies now.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back In Ireland, Smoking Stanley and Rats...25 November 2007

Well, here I am, back in Ireland again. As I'd envisaged, it is very cold. Not so much the weather outside but the cottage inside. Stanley was lit as soon as we arrived and promptly filled the cottage with plumes of smoke. Front and back door open, which rather defeated the point of firing him up. A few hefty wallops on his chimney did little to improve performance, so we let him go out. Lit the calor gas fire and switched on the 2 electric ones. We actually unloaded the car, which we normally leave until the morning, but it was strangely light here. We had left Worthing at 8.30am and finally arrived in our cottage at 11pm, so it's a long, long journey.

Having scoffed a sausage sandwich, we wrapped up and collapsed into bed. This morning Jim gave Stanley a de-coke and he worked much better, with only a little flurry of smoke at the start. The cottage is finally beginning to warm up a bit.

We were also greeted by various bits of shredded carpet in the snug, an equally shredded bin liner and other evidence of occupation while we'd been in the UK. We have a mouse or rat... Once in bed, we could hear some scraping noises downstairs and the carpet was being attacked again, but when I opened the door, the rodent had vanished. We upturned both settees today and gave them a good bash - enough to dislodge any self respecting rat, but no sign. I later peered into the fireplace, the top of which is blocked up. Around the bottom, though, were 2 holes, easily large enough for ratty doors. Jim duly filled them with stones and cemented them up. Hopefully our carpet should survive the night.

So it was not the best start to our return, a smoking Stanley and a resident rodent. It can only get better. Jim set up the computer tonight. We are sharing one as he forgot some connection for his laptop. Luckily he's back to the UK soon for a meeting so can pick up the missing lead.

Watched a Kevin Costner film 'Guardian' tonight, about the US Coastguard service. It was quite entertaining and full of action. Worth a look if you get the chance. I also knitted a hat for one of Jim's daughters for Christmas. Will make another one for his other daughter tomorrow.

Rotten headache tonight. Hardly surprising.

Till tomorrow.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ireland Here We Come - 23 Nov 2007

What a day. Tried to get the kitchen decorating finished but just fell short. Decided it was time to get things ready for the Doblo. Off to Ireland tomorrow and staying until March, when I go to Australia to visit my sister. Whoopee.

The house now has boxes, tools, bags and other sundry items all ready to pack into the car in the morning, around 6am. It was too dark to pack it today by the time we'd assembled all the requisite things. I suppose I ought to go to bed, but am a bit hyper with excitement! Can't wait to get back 'home'. I bet it'll be freezing there though. We'll have to get Stanley fired up as soon as we get there.

Played some Facebook Scrabble, now off to bed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More Decorating, More Mess Weds Nov 21, 07

Not much to report today. We've moved our decorating endeavours (that's Morse's first name by the way) downstairs to the kitchen, utility room and toilet. The cistern in the loo was broken, so Jim was brave and fitted a new one. One minor flood later, a trip to the shops to buy a new pipe and all was done and working. The local shops were sadly lacking in waste pipes, so Jim had to re-fit the old one, poo and all!! It has a very small leak, so tomorrow it's off to find plumbing merchants for the required pipe. When he had removed said pipe, the hole in the floor was directly into the sewer. I was waiting with baited breath to see whether any ratties might appear but luckily they didn't. We can do toilets!!

I have filled many holes in the walls and given the woodwork the customary first coat of magnolia (neutral colours when you're intending to sell). Unfortunately, the dining room now looks rather like a cross between a jumble and car boot sale. All the things from the kitchen/utility/loo, are spread everywhere. AAAAH!! We did manage to pick up a load of banana boxes today, extremely useful for packing heavy items such as books, so we may be able to get straight one day. Some of it will go with us to Ireland on this coming Saturday, so that will help. We're hoping to get the kitchen/utility/loo finished by the time we leave.

Enough of a break, better get painting.....

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Load of Baskets - Let's Get Weaving 9-10 Nov 07

I've been sorely lacking in my attempts to write my blog daily. Did have 2 days away on the basket making course, but after that, no excuse.

The course was in Woodchurch, Kent and was run by a chap called Alan. He had a long blonde mop of hair and his pony tail fell half way down his back. We couldn't have asked for a better tutor, he was skilled, had great patience and a good sense of humour. Most of us hadn't done any basketry at all before, so we all started off at ground zero.

Can you believe at the end of the 2 days we had all made a fully functioning basket of some description. I bled all over the place on the first day. That willow is tough old stuff and very difficult to handle at times. I'll pop some photos at the bottom for your perusal.

I made a little 'egg basket' or small shopper, while Jim made a whacking great waste paper or kindling basket. His was rather the star of the show. The only male (apart from Alan) and he had a natural talent for it. You do need to be quite strong, which was an advantage for him.

On our land in Ireland, we have approximately 1 acre of willows. These were planted by the previous owner, who also makes baskets. Now we can use them ourselves. We both enjoyed the course thoroughly and can't wait to get back to Ireland and have a go on our own.

We decided to stay in the area Friday and Saturday night and Jim found a wonderful bed and breakfast on the net. It was situated a few miles from the willow centre in Kent. The couple owned their main house and it had, at the bottom of the garden, a 2 story brick built guest mini house. That's where we stayed. All beautifully tasteful, warm and with its own kitchen. We poddled down to the house for breakfast, cooked on an Aga, and our friendly host and hostess entertained us royally. They were both from Hong Kong and obviously not short of the odd euro or two (he was a banker). Penny, our hostess, had to rush off on the Sunday morning to pick up her niece. She was coming over from Hong Kong to her boarding school and Penny 'knew how she felt' having had the same experience as a child. How the other half lives!

We walked every street of Rye, that wonderful old town in East Sussex, full of period houses and tiny streets. It turned out to be their Bonfire and Firework Night on the Saturday of our stay. All along the Sussex Coast the towns have these special bonfire events. There is always a big torchlit procession all around the town and each society supports their neighbours, so they are always a grand affair. Rye was no exception and when we had finished our course on Saturday, we headed straight for Rye to try and find some parking. Our unhappy Doblo was running on fumes by the time we reached the garage in Rye! We just made it. Noticing they had a bit of a yard at the side of the shop and pumps, we asked if we could park there. They agreed, we were so lucky! Rye was virtually closed to traffic a short while afterwards.

To fill in the hours before the procession, we headed for the 'Kettle of Fish', a cheerful looking restaurant with a take out and seating. Queued a bit then we were seated. All very warm and cosy. Our food seemed to be taking rather a long time, but we enjoyed people watching and we were warm, so we weren't unduly put out. However, many others were, and the complaints began to fill the air. The poor waitresses did their best to fend off the fuming customers and eventually the chef came out to see them! In reality, they should have seen to the restaurant customers first, then handled the take away. We actually waited an hour! But in true British fashion, we didn't complain. The food was lovely.

Pleasantly glowing inside and out, we headed off, just in time to see the procession. It always amazes me that more people don't set themselves on fire. The torches wave in the air and frequently, their tops drop off onto someone or onto the floor! Ah well, at least it's allowed to go ahead and nobody has banned it yet. The theme seemed to be Halloween, and there were many ghosts, ghoulies and devils of all shapes and sizes. We finally made our way down to the green where the bonfire was lit. It was absolutely enormous and quite a wind had by now started to gust around the town. At one point, a whole group of spectators had to run for it, or get sizzled! We stood at a respectful distance and watched the fire and the fireworks with customary 'oohs' and 'aaahs'. They were quite splendid.

Monday morning saw us driving back to Worthing, worn out but happy after our fun packed working weekend. The course was actually run in one of the barns in the grounds of an animal rare breeds farm. This farm is run by the Canterbury Oast Trust, a splendid organisation which provides opportunities for people with learning disabilities. Many of them come to the farm daily and help care for the animals. If you would like to read more about the Trust and its work, please see their website: The telephone number is 01233 861493. A day trip to the farm is a must for anyone with a love of animals and the money raised goes towards helping the many deserving people who make good use of the facilities. It really can change lives.

Basket Weaving For Ever......

I hope you enjoy the photos

Friday, November 9, 2007

Shopping, Bad Hair Day and Decorating Thurs Nov 8th 2007

I was very annoyed with myself this morning. Having gone to sleep around 5am, I slept in until 1pm. My own silly fault. I never feel like going to bed, but then I'm angry at the waste of a day. I went almost straight out to the shops, as I had one or two bits to get and needed to get my hearing aid checked at the 'Hidden Hearing' Shop. You didn't know I'm deaf? That's another story. Well, Hidden Hearing was shut, so that was a bad start.

My hair looks ghastly at the moment. Lots of grey growing through. I always think I'd like to grow it out but when it looks like it does today, I give in and head for the chemist. I walked past a hairdressers, places I normally avoid like the plague, but today I was desperate, so went in and made an appointment for tomorrow at 9.15am, so I will have to get up! My hair is long and naturally curly (thanks to my Dad) and used to be very dark brown. Goodness knows how much grey there is now, but a lot. It's also very thick. I'll decide what to do when I get there! Jim likes it long, but I'm really sick of it.

I'm feeling my age and some at the moment. I could do with going on that 'look 10 years younger' programme. Too much sun worshipping all my life has finally taken its toll on my skin, especially my top lip. If I could afford it I'd have it 'done'. Warning to all, keep out of the sun or use a very high factor sun cream.

I'm quite dark skinned (again, thanks to my Dad) so though the sun wouldn't affect me. It has....

Ah well, enough self pity. I headed back home to the decorating. Carried on until 11 pm tonight and now all the windows have a first coat and the bedroom door. Jim has started on the ceiling, a job I hate. As we go back to Ireland on the 24th ish and I'm away visiting family next week, I haven't much time left and really need to get it finished before we put it up for sale next spring.

I'm sure we'll manage somehow.

Had a bit of time on Facebook to wind down and am off to bed very soon, ready for my early morning tomorrow! Think of me and my hair traumas.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

More Paint, More Scrabble

Up in good time in spite of usual bedtime. Got stuck into painting outside window sills and some of inside windows, plus filling all the holes in the walls. Well, some of them. One of the walls fell apart each time I removed a picture hook! Large holes to fill. At the bottom of the same wall was a large square hole (odd shaped mouse?). I stuffed newspaper in the hole, in the time honoured fashion, but it just kept going in and disappearing! I did manage to get some to stay put and stuck some filler in front of it. Needs more filler tomorrow, if it hasn't all fallen out by then.

My poor daughter, not only has she just lost a best friend from leukaemia, her partner Rachel was thrown and fell badly at Jujitsu yesterday evening and broke her ankle. They didn't think it was too bad at the hospital, gave her a temporary plaster and she had to go back today. Turns out her ankle is a bad break, she was operated on for about 4 hours and is now full of plates and pins a la bionic woman! She is not at all happy and has to stay in the hospital for several days. It'll drive her absolutely nuts. She is a writer and is mostly to be founds pounding away on the computer. She won an award for her book last year and it is being published in April, I think.

A trip to B & Q was necessary this afternoon for some masonry paint and paint for the bedroom walls, ceiling and cornice. Wednesdays are 'OAP' days. As my husband qualifies for this esteemed position (he'll hit me now), he has a most useful card enabling him to obtain 10% discount on Weds, so if it's B & Q, it must be Wednesday! We bought said paint, then just had to go outside to see whether there were any distressed plants that needed rescuing in their garden centre outside. Luckily for us, they had some lovely trees, half price. We resisted the temptation to buy too many but did buy a weeping birch, plus 2 other trees, a Himalayan Birch and a dark purple leaved one. They'll be heading for Ireland of course. Another journey with trees dangling around my neck.

Tonight we've mostly played scrabble on Facebook! Must stop doing that, but it is fun playing with people from all over the world (and Jim in his study next door). You may have noticed his comment after he beat me yesterday. Well, the worm has turned. Just you wait for today's result....

This coming weekend, we are going to Dorset on a 2 day basket weaving course. As much of our land in Ireland is a willow plantation, we thought we'd better learn to make use of it. We're spending the night in a delightful one bedroom cottage, so it'll be like a mini holiday.

I must concentrate on getting Jack's advent calendar finished so I can take it to him in a couple of weeks time. I'll take some photos of it if I ever get that far.

Cup of chino time now, plus a packet of crisps.

SCRABBLE: Would you believe that the game was a draw!! How bizarre is that? I'm cross that I didn't win but for ages I didn't have any vowels! Next time......

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Not More Decorating? Some Scrabble Too: Tuesday Nov 6th 2008

Phew, busy busy. Up at a reasonable time, considering we settled down about 4am. Painted the outside of the big windows - from the inside! Did a bit more sanding and Jim demolished the last of the wall cupboards. The room looks huge now. I filled lots of holes with polyfilla, I think all my houses have been held up with the stuff! Just taking a quick break for a cappuccino (cup of chino my Grandson Jack calls it) and digestives and a catch up on Facebook, and here of course.

It's a bright, crisp Autumn day. In the front garden the hollyhocks are still in flower, one lovely pink one and one dark chocolate colour. In the back a fuchsia is still in full bloom. Madness in November, but beautiful.

Back later.

It's now 1.10am. I've played a bit on Facebook tonight, scrabble mostly, and made a photo album of my son, Ben. He's been travelling Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, India, came back to the UK and ran a bar in London for a while and has now gone out to Spain to run one with a friend. I miss him.

Oh dear, really must go to bed. I have been making some yellow braids to make the numbers to go on the advent calendar's pockets! I will finish it one day. And, yes, my dear husband beat me soundly at scrabulous (Facebook's version of scrabble), but only because he managed to get all 7 letters out. Grrrrrr......

Must get up early to paint the windows. Yawn.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Box Fest and Decorating

So, it was off to the Co-op again to get some more boxes. They were most helpful today and had just opened a load of crisps, so I had those boxes and 6 banana boxes, which are very strong and great for books. I had to go to the tip first to get rid of the remaining green chair from Ireland (a well travelled chair it is). Plus 2 old computer monitors.

Just heard the first firework of the night. Of course, it is the 5th today. Remember, remember the 5th of November and all that.

Where was I? Oh yes, called in at the dentist to book appointments for Jim and I next Tuesday. Took my hoover with the broken switch to a local repair shop. I must say it's so convenient here with all the shops locally, rather than having to travel the length and breadth of Ireland each time we need something other than food.

Back home, I set about the large bay window in the bedroom. I sanded it down, quite a job and I ended up with totally grey hair, a bunged up nose and throat and glasses I could no longer view through! So I'm having a little break for the dust to settle.

Saw the children from next door today, Verity and Max. Lovely to see them again. They were full of laughter and chatter.

For now,

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Box Blip, Un Screwing and Brilliant TV

Carried on packing more china until I ran out of boxes and tape. Disaster. I headed off to the Co-op and managed to get some boxes around the store, not nearly as many as I needed, but a start. An added bonus - there was a car boot sale in the Co-op car park, had a quick skirt round, but usual tat really. I did pick up a lovely Pittisporum shrub for £2 for back in Ireland.

Back home to be greeted by J in a t shirt. Yes, just a t shirt!!

I spent all the rest of the day disassembling the large unit on the wall of my bedroom/play room. It seemed to be held together with 1000 screws. I still hadn't managed to finish it by 9pm but a new drama called Joe's Palace was on BBC1 that I wanted to watch. Written by Stephen Poliakoff, it starred Michael Gambon as the rich absentee owner of an old house with an intriguing past. Joe becomes the 'caretaker' and an odd but intriguing relationship develops between the 2 characters. It was quite breathtaking at times, the acting, from Gambon and the chap who played 'Joe' was quite superb and the final 'past', once it was revealed, was a complete shock. It you missed it, watch out for it, they usually do a repeat some time in the week on BBC3. It was one of those rare dramas that left one with a warm glow.

Now relaxing a bit before bed. Sad news of the day, my daughter's friend died today from complications after having chemo for her leukaemia. At least she won't suffer any more.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Boxes, Rugby and Fireworks Sat Nov 3rd 2007

Woke late again today. Bad start to our vow to get up early each day we're here. Beautiful crisp Autumn day, blue sky, the cherry tree in our yard has leaves of russet, red, yellow and still some green. It looks gorgeous in the sunshine.
I managed to get much of the stuff in my room packed away, then ran out of boxes, so I'm moving the rest into the bedroom next door until I can get some more.
As my television doesn't seem to work, I watched an old video of a show I was in once, called 'Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs Strikes Back'. It was a pantomime with a difference. For a start I played the Fairy Godmother and thought I was in 'Cinderella' all the time and Prince Charming was re-named Prince Boring! A bit odd to see myself as I was back in 1983. Thinner, with black hair and no glasses! Ah well, time marches on and all that. I had to stop the video to go down for a coffee with Jim. When I came back up, it wouldn't work again! It seems to be stuck in the machine. I hope I can extricate it tomorrow.
Sam Burgess, Jim's Great Nephew, was playing in his 2nd Rugby League Match as part of the UK team in the 2nd of the 3 test matches against New Zealand. The UK won 44 nil. What a rout it was. Sam played well, as always, and was interviewed afterwards. So they have won the test series, the first time for many many years. It bodes well for the Rugby League World Cup to be held next year.

On Facebook, I'm playing a game of Scrabble with a lady from the US! What a wonderful thing the Internet is.

Earlier this evening, once again the air was full of explosions, whistles and bangs from the fireworks. I guess there'll be more tomorrow night, and probably all week.

My Granddaughter Kirsty has moved in with her fiancee today, the fiancee being one Jamie-Alicia (as in female)! They seem madly in love so I just hope it works out for them. Kirsty is my first Granddaughter and I was with her at her birth. She's always been a bit special.

Awful floods in Mexico, on the news, millions homeless. How lucky we are to live where we do.

Going to do a bit more clearing up now....
Until tomorrow,

Friday, November 2, 2007

Boxes, boxes everywhere - Thursday Nov 2nd 2007

Phew, what a day. I have been attacking my 'play room' here in Worthing. As we're hoping to sell, I have to make it look like a bedroom again instead of a nuclear war zone. I have to pack all the china left over from my mad ebaying days and all my bits of material (rugs, pictures, etc). Plus loads of other 'stuff'. I have so far filled about 15 boxes with books, etc as above. Carried them all into the bedroom next along from my room (which has already been decorated). Still far too much to sort out. Tomorrow.

I did listen to some old tapes which was fun. Eyam, a musical written by some students on a workshop week, which I love. I wanted to produce it in Eyam but ran out of time before I moved south. Shame. Plus a great James Gallway/Chleo Lane tape called 'Best Friends'. Reminds me of my daughter, especially the song entitled 'Lo Here the Gentle Lark' or the 'Dooby Doo' song as Kat and I call it. Great one for singing along to, but only if you're along in the house! I also found an old tape which I must have recorded of my son Ben. It has his lovely Gran on it and Kat and a friend from school called Carol. Made me very nostalgic. You can never re-capture those times.

It's an easy life living here as we have gas central heating - no Stanley to light. If it gets a bit cool, just turn up the thermostat! What fun is there in that? The garden is also about the size of a postage stamp, rather than the 5 acres we have in Ireland!

It's been like Beirut here tonight (and last night). Fireworks going off all over the place. Doesn't anyone do fireworks on 5th November anymore? I pity the poor mums with little children in bed. In Ireland of course they don't have Bonfire Night. I have wonderful memories of Nov 5th at my parents' house in Forest Hill, London. We always had a huge fire (the main excitement for us as children) and the compulsory £1 box of fireworks. Little rockets that just about made it above the tree line, Catherine wheels that always fell off onto the floor, golden rain and Roman Candles, Vesuvius and Flower Pot. Modern children would find them very boring. Little sparklers that we always held in our gloved hands. Mummy always made jacket potatoes (with just butter), Yorkshire parkin and home made toffee, black and golden. We used to let off those 'jumping jacks' and no matter where my Mum stood, they always chased her! What fabulous times they were, full of love and laughter.

Must get on and do a bit more now.

Long Journey Blog, Back in the UK 1-2 Nov 2007

Jim's just managed to set my computer up and it's on the 'wireless' jobby, so that's great. Pretty ghastly journey over from Ireland. We were up at 3am ish. Jim made our usual travelling picnic. He'd packed the car last night so only the last bits to go in. Long trip down to Rosslare where we catch the ferry. We headed to our usual lounge on board (we call it our bedroom), pillows and sleeping bags on hand. Ferry left at 8.45am. We noticed a family sitting on the other side of the lounge. Couldn't believe it was the people we bought the Irish cottage from. It turned out they were about the most unpopular people in Ireland and everyone hated them! So we didn't really want to speak to them! I snuggled down in my sleeping bag and dozed reasonably well. Smooth crossing and we arrived in Pembroke at about 1.30pm.

The journey through Wales seemed endless. Lovely autumn colours everywhere though and quite a sunny day, so it could have been worse. Both this morning and this evening the sky was just amazing. Ablaze with red streaks. Wonderful. We finally landed back in Worthing, West Sussex about 6ish I think. It seemed an interminable day and neither of us could walk when we tried to get out of the car!! Unloaded the car, Jim popped out to get some essential shopping and I attacked the kitchen. Cleaned cupboards and sorted stuff to leave for now and stuff to pack ready to take to Ireland. Cleaning the top of very greasy cupboards is not nice.

Jim set up computers and had a lot of work to do on the leaflets he's producing for IOH. Must go to bed as we're determined to get up early to make the most of the time we have here and hopefully get the house ready to sell in the Spring.

Night everyone, xxx