Keswick 2013

The Alley to Crandy NookFire!Street TheatreInvaders!Tiny Castle CragCatbells and Maiden Moor
Pitch and Putt22 years later...NappingWatching the sleepy cowsGrandma's cakeSkiddaw
WaitingLow cloudShelteringLakeland rainThe Keswick LaunchRigging
Amy & SamDistant boatLow cloud 2Coming closerDe-riggingHappy sailor!

Keswick 2013, a set on Flickr.

Another Cumbrian adventure in the North Lakes with the Family and In-Laws of Mine.

Mountain walking, Wayfarer sailing, Lake kayaking, ice-cream eating, Jennings drinking, game playing, jigsaw failing, sheep spotting, photograph taking, waterfall finding…

A great time was had by all.

OMG!

“Daughter of Mine is most definitely now a tweenager.”

I started a draft post with this title and opening sentence over a year ago. Distracted by life, it – along with many other posts – was never finished and published. But then again, this blog has ended up being mostly about my memories; this photo qualifies as a memory –  my blog, my rules.

This photo was taken in February 2012 – when Daughter of Mine was still just 11 – and texting was as social as she got. Tomorrow she turns 13… with the best and worse of social networking within her grasp.

Although, according to news stories following the publication of Facebook’s annual report, teens are turning away from the social media giant in favour of other, more awesome/wicked/cool (or whatever the latest ‘word’ is) social networking apps.

You know, the ones where you don’t have Mother of Yours as a friend.

Boxing Day Blues

Boxing Day for me is always tinged with a little bit of sadness. This year it has been five years since the last time I saw my dad. I remember hugging him goodbye and teasing him about losing weight in the New Year – just over six weeks later he suffered a fatal heart attack.

My dad on the left, with my father-in-law, taken at Children of Mine's christening in 2004

But every day I thank God for my other ‘Dad’ – my father-in-law. Together, they made a formidable pair – always there to help in a crisis; always there to have fun at a celebration.

In the 25 years I’ve known my father-in-law, he’s always been loved and recognised for his own individual contribution to the Family’s lives. I remember hugging him, this time at my dad’s funeral and sobbing “…at least I still have you.”

His contributions are endless. He designs, makes, mends, grows and initiates ‘things’: handmade toys for the Children; surprises for his loved ones and friends; vegetables and fruit for the table.  He shares his scientific and electrical knowledge, whether helping re-wire a house or teach Daughter of Mine about circuits; and creates legendary games, puzzles and quizzes for Christmas night.

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Even this Boxing Day night, he left our house armed with a multitude of things he had offered to mend: a spring catch on a secret treasure chest he had made for Son of Mine’s birthday this year; the flag pole on the wooden castle he had made for his fourth birthday (joking that it was now out of guarantee); and the attachments for my Kenwood Chef, to loosen the adjustment nuts (because Husband of Mine doesn’t have a vice). He also left with another wood project to design and make – a series of display boxes for Son of Mine’s collection of gemstones and fossils.

It was also my father-in-law who introduced me to the Lake District and Keswick, back in 1991 when newly married Husband of Mine and I, desperate for a cheap holiday, jumped at the chance to act as support team while my new in-laws walked Wainwright’s famous Coast to Coast walk. We camped, in the rain, near Bassenthwaite Lake then moved our tent to Kirkby Stephen for a few days of glorious sunshine – leaving me in love with Cumbria, but alas, not with camping!

This year we bought him a ukulele for Christmas.

Thankfully, Mother-in-Law of Mine got the joke...

“To ‘Davey’…Merry Christmas…” read the tag, so written because he can play ‘Davey Crockett’ on any instrument you care to mention. He may even get to ‘guest’ with Husband of Mine’s folk band – ‘The Renegade Dogs’!

So with a bit more practice, maybe next Boxing Day’s ‘blues’ won’t be so bad…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

The grey, wet, windy view from my car as I wait to pick Daughter of Mine up from her school.

Usually she walks to her old primary, to meet me and her brother there, but I took pity on her today, given that the weather was so bad. She did also have a batch of Christmas shortbread to carry from this afternoon’s Food Tech lesson – of course, none of us wanted it to end up as crumbs!

Son of Mine came out of school excited too as he has been chosen to sing a solo verse of ‘O, Little Town of Bethlehem’ at the end of term concert.

When pressed for more details of his day, he also declared that it was exciting because today was his first day of writing with a pen, rather than a pencil, because his handwriting is so neat!

Little things…

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I’ve been having a black and white photography day today to match the weather… check out today’s blip over at seen by highonahill

Fireworks? More like a damp squib…

Ah, firework night!

A pattern has emerged in recent years – have a few friends round for sparklers in the garden, chilli and jacket potatoes, hot dogs, some variation on chocolate for dessert and a few glasses of wine, before wandering down the lane to watch the local firework display.

And this year I really wanted to try my hand at a bit of photography too.

Having been poorly for the best part of three weeks now, I was indoors watching from the window, party called off, whilst Family of Mine wrapped up and ventured out to watch the display.

Take a look at my Flickr slideshow for more of my damp squibs, as seen from the window.

And of course, there’s always next year.

Just not sure the sausages will keep until then…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Worn

The Family ventured out to Climping beach on a rather blustery Father’s Day for a walk, a spot of metal detecting and some fresh air.

We certainly got the fresh air. The weather was so bad that we spent less than a hour down there, watching the waves crash on the shingle; Son of Mine trying his hardest to get soaked by leaving it until the last minute to run away from them.

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Alas, we didn’t find a treasure trove this time; just dug up a lot of tin foil carelessly discarded by casual picnikers.

There is a car park at the end of the no-through road that leads to the beach, bounded by a concrete sea wall.

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Completely eroded in places, I thought a picture of this fitted the challenge far better than the other option I had in mind.

A self-portrait.

Congratulations!

I have just received this card through the post from the only old school friend I keep in touch with. Or to be more precise, who keeps in touch with me. I am very bad at keeping in touch.

The card is to celebrate my 21st wedding anniversary today; the only other cards to mark the occasion have been exchanged between ourselves – Husband of Mine to me: an unusually wordy card illustrated with cartoon mice (a slightly odd choice given his hatred of rodents and their guts); me to Husband of Mine: a simple blank ‘Thank You’ for putting up with me over the last 21 years (actually the best of a bad bunch in the local Co-op).

Oh, and Mother of Mine did send a congratulatory email to our shared inbox.

No point in trying the dress on – I know from the Royal Wedding Day debacle that it didn’t fit and no-one cared anyway.

But I have just had a quick peek at the wedding photographs for nostalgic reasons. The setting is still as familiar as ever – we still attend the same church, dodging the mud and cow pats through the farmyard to get to the lychgate, and holding our noses when the fertiliser on the fields is at its most pungent. Except I was struck by the absence of familiar faces in the shots of the guests. There were people at my wedding in 1990 that I now barely recognise – work colleagues of the time, friends who have since moved away, and a terrifying number – 14 at my count – who are now sadly not with us, including between us what were our four remaining grandparents, and my lovely dad. Except for the family that’s left, the only other constants are Director Who Thinks Life is a Musical and her husband, Stage Manager Major General.

Even the photographer has gone out of business – makes a mockery of the list of reference numbers for the photographs; “keep this list in a safe place” – Why bother? I suppose he wasn’t to know that 21 years later I’d be able to convert images to a digital format at the click of a mouse (a computer one, not a cartoon one) and share them with the entire world!

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We tried to celebrate last night during an impromptu visit to L.A. That’s Littlehampton to the locals. I had taken Children of Mine to Harbour Park, a small pay-as-you-go funfair on the seafront, to spend vouchers that we won in a raffle yonks ago.

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We had fun, but Children of Mine were so tired by the evening that by the time Husband of Mine came to join us we abandoned the idea of tiger prawns and baby octopus at East Beach Café, tried Fred’s Fish ‘n’ Chips, where the only table was directly behind the fryers, but ended up settling for a KFC Bargain Bucket at home in front of Britain’s Got Talent.

Not exactly romantic, but hey, maybe waiting another 21 years for an anniversary treat would work for me?

42. I would then know “The Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything.”

Trouble is, I still wouldn’t know the question.