Saturday 31st January, 2009
Another trip to the UK for me as it was my daughter in law Sam's 30th Birthday on Saturday 31st January. I caught a later plane than usual and landed about mid-day at Stansted and Sam and the lovely Jack were there to meet me. Jack is always so pleased and excited to see me, it's wonderful. We went straight home (via MacDonalds for a take away coffee). It was freezing in the UK, much colder than it had been in Ireland and I gather the bitter wind was coming from Siberia, so no wonder.
It was a playing with Jack afternoon for me. We played all sorts of games, he's really into 'make believe' ones at the moment. As his mum is having a baby he likes being a baby too or being Buster, my dog!
I had bought Sam 30 presents! I just managed to fit them into my case plus a few clothes for the 3 days and that was about it. I emptied the presents on the floor and Sam and Jack (mostly Jack) opened them, which took some time as you can imagine. I think Sam liked all her bits and bobs, especially the red pyjamas - large enough for her growing bump.
Sam and Jack with the 30 birthday presents
As we were booked at the Harvester to eat at 6pm we all got into our glad rags and make up and headed off about 5pm. It was a very cold evening but warm inside the restaurant and we spotted our table with '30' balloons on it and 30 confetti all over the table top. Sam's friend Amanda had arrived early and arranged that, plus a bottle of bubbly. Jack was dressed in his 'Sportacus' outfit and behaved very well all evening, even though he's usually in bed by 7ish. The food was fine and the desserts delicious! Jack had chosen Sam's cake for her, a clown and our waitress brought it in although we were all too full to eat a piece. As well as Sam and Jason, Amanda, Jack, Rene (Sam's Mum), Ivor and Maureen (Jason's Granddad and his wife) and of course me - attended.
Sam with her meal, Maureen in red
Jack helps Sam blow out the candles, Maureen and Ivor look on
We were pleased to get home and it wasn't too long before we all headed off to bed. I think Sam enjoyed her day.
Sunday 1st February, 2009
We had decided last night to go to a car boot fayre on Sunday morning, so we were up pretty early. Poor Maureen had had a rotten tummy all night so wasn't up to coming, but did all Sam's ironing instead. Ivor and Jason decided to stay home too and watch the football, so it was just me, Sam, Rene and Jack who braved the weather. There were hardly any stalls there and it was bitterly bitterly cold. Talk about 'The North Wind Doth Blow'. I bought frozen Jack a woolen hat and one for me too. The lovely man on the stall gave Jack a pair of gloves!
Rene bought a pair of curtains for 50p for her new flat at Jason and Sams' house and a lamp. A lady was selling a box of craft items for £5 but said I could have them for £2 so it was worth the trip after all. I can't remember it ever being quite as cold as it was there. My eyes were streaming and we all rushed back into the car and headed off to Asda for a warming cup of something and a bun. We're good at that. Back home and we had a lovely lunch of jacket potatoes and accompaniments with birthday cake for dessert. Jack enjoyed playing with Sam's birthday balloons:
Don't you love that tee shirt? 'I love spiders, snails and dirt'
It had started to snow by then and as the afternoon wore on, it became more persistent. Ivor and Maureen had about an hour's drive so decided to head off into the snow.
Jason, Maureen and Ivor and one of Sam's balloons. Can you see the snow falling?
Monday 2nd February 2009
Jack should have been at school this morning but it had been cancelled. While at school, Sam works with Jason in their office at home, so I had Jack while Sam worked. We played many many lovely games. I was surprised he didn't want to go out into the snow but he was happy inside in the warm playing 'I'm a baby' games. Late afternoon we did decide to go out and build a snowman and Jason and Sam too. All wrapped up against the elements, we had a great time:
Weeping apple tree in the snow
Snowy Bench and laurel
Jack and Gran (me) in the snow
Jason making the snowbody
Sam with snow on her head by Jason, Jack on the left behind our huge 'snowperson'!! How cool is he?
Lovely photo of Sam in the snow
Little stone bench and snowy apple tree in Jason and Sams' garden
Now I should have been going home on Monday evening but of course my flight from Stansted was cancelled! So it was another night in Suffolk for me. In fact it was two! I couldn't get one for Tuesday either but finally booked one for Wednesday evening at 6pm. I was a bit short of clothes but Sam washed some big knickers and a t shirt for me and saved the day.
Tuesday 3rd February
We spent some time in Newmarket on Tuesday. It was really sunny with blue skies but still very cold. The snow was still about but melting where the sun had caught it. I took a few photos.
I took this through the car window. I think it turned out rather well. Evening sunshine on snowy hills
Sunset at Newmarket
Newmarket Clock tower
Wickhambrook, Suffolk at dusk
Jason and Sams' house in the snow
Wednesday, February 4th
I had a lazy morning as Jack had gone to school. We picked him up at 1pm and met up with Sam's friend Lyndsey with her twin baby girls and son Ben who's the same age as Jack. They played really well together, inventing new ways to 'get the baddies' which seemed to involve 2 round soft bricks they called 'cheeses'. Sam and I took turns in holding the twins who were a bit grumpy at times. Then it was off to the airport for my plane.
Jack in the hat with a very silly smile! In the car
The plane was on time and we boarded but there was obviously some sort of hitch. It turned out that we had one passenger too many! A stowaway? Up and down they went, checking names and passports against numerous lists. Did they find this extra person? Apparently not! We set off about half an hour late, the mystery unsolved. Jim picked me up at the airport and it was once again really cold and windy. I gather the neighbours have been up to the house complaining again! The room floors have been concreted now and Jim has been busy doing odd jobs.
Thursday, 5th February
It was good to be back in my own bed last night. I was able to view the new floors this morning and the day was bright and sunny at first. Jim and I walked around the land and he showed me the work he'd done round and about. He has been making some willow fencing around the allotment, mainly to keep Buster off. It looks absolutely brilliant and is very strong too. It's not a living willow but a wattle style fence, the one you do in panels.
I stayed and did some work at the top of the allotment while Jim nipped into Gort to buy some fruit bushes from Aldi! We are adding to the soft fruit bed on the allotment. The bed already has strawberries, some rhubarb and blue berry bushes on it so these extra raspberry, blackberry and tayberry bushes will fill it up. Let's hope we get some sun this summer.
The bad news is that the mad neighbour Sandra spotted Jim in Aldi and once again complained about the mess on the road, the concrete truck that blocked her way (once, for about 2 minutes) and, and, and! She wanted to be informed of any deliveries we are going to have, times, etc!! The woman's getting madder by the day. She said we were avoiding her. Too right we are!!
Ah well, in spite of that, I managed to almost put her out of my mind and got a lot done this afternoon and finished off when it got dark about 6 o'clock with a big bonfire. Buster came and sat with me for a while until the sky totally cleared and it dropped really cold. It was amazingly bright though with a beautiful moon and sparkling stars.
Jim made a cassoulet for dinner, which was lovely. Haricot beans, bacon, choritzo sausage and vegetables. It was a bit salty but delicious.
It's good to be back.