Saturday, 2 November 2013

Did you know?

Did you know it is not to late to still donate to Mike's Just Giving page?

OK, I know I am like a broken record, but it is in a good cause. 

If you needed any further inspiration just watch the video of his drop.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

We're still alive take 2.

After all the excitement of the weekend I am happy to report we are both still alive. I'm sure Mike will get around to telling you all about his exploits when he gets chance, or when I have twisted his arm sufficiently. For now you will have to make do with a photograph.

Apologies for the quality, I took it with my phone.

So far Mike has raised £650 but it isn't too late to give, the Justgiving account is open for a couple of months after the event!

Friday, 25 October 2013

Still alive

It has been so long since I posted here I almost feel too guilty to know what to say. We are both still alive and relatively OK. Well Mike is the same as where you all left him, I am waiting for a second maxillofacial appointment to try and sort out my dodgy sinus (it is just the one it seems from the CT scan.)

Sunday is Mike's abseil. JustGiving - Sponsor me now!
He was very optimistic that he could make £1000 with all the "friends" he has. It is very clear now how good some of those friends are!  You can also donate by text message in the UK by sending a text with the message:
MPDG55 £1* / £2* / £10* to 70070 (* donation amount as you see fit). 

I have started my own little business selling retro items online and at fayres. It is early days still, but I enjoy meeting people at the auctions and even better talking to those who are passionate about the things I am selling.

A major fly in my personal ointment (strange saying!) was a letter that my youngest daughter wrote informing me she was pregnant. This came about a week after I found out she had not done at all well in her A levels and was not going to go to university or college. I was mad about the exams, furious about the letter and I will spare you the details of what was said when she calmly assumed I was going to let her carry on as if nothing had changed. She has moved out now.

Mike thinks it is great that we pretty much have the house to ourselves now. Toni isn't so happy. 

Friday, 21 June 2013

Milestones and mysteries part 2.

Where was I? Oh yes, the Midland Hotel. The rest of the afternoon was spent admiring the view from the balcony, followed by an act of utter selfishness. Despite the discrete card saying shower instead of bath I ran the deepest bubble bath, in full view of the world and lay in it admiring the sea view while sipping champagne! (The champagne was a wedding present that we had saved for a n other special occasion.) 

Then it was off to the Rotunda bar to sip cocktails before our three course dinner in the hotel's restaurant. The food was fantastic, although I couldn't eat everything on my plate. After coffee we were so stuffed we thought we had better take a slow walk around the hotel to aid digestion. We ended up going to bed so full we both felt sick. Oops. 

As you will have seen from the photos yesterday the weather was overcast, but what the photos don't show is the temperature. The only way we could sleep was to have both the sliding doors open which meant I fell to sleep watching the lighthouse across the bay twinkle. 

I awoke at 6:30 to this:

Bright sunshine and a large number of oyster catchers, what do you mean you can't see them? Trust me, I got out the complimentary binoculars and checked with the R.S.P.B., they are definitely oyster catchers at the water's edge. 

After a lazy breakfast we did the usual seaside things, walked up the beach, stared into rock pools, had an ice cream, before a final cuppa outside the Rotunda before travelling back to Lancaster where we ate before our journey home.

We arrived back home just before 9:30 p.m. to find my daughters had been up to no good.

My daughter obviously bought the wrong candle!

Yes that is an inflatable walking frame! The lemon drizzle cakes are to die for though, so I might forgive them. 

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Milestones and mysteries part one.

Please don't tell anyone, but Tuesday was one of those milestone birthdays. Mike was being extremely evasive and secretive over the weekend, in fact had been for weeks. I knew he was up to something, but I had no idea what. 

On Monday morning he drove us to the station with a small suitcase. I still had no idea where we were going. Now I've caught enough trains from our station to know what direction the trains go from a particular platform, so as we didn't go further than platform 1 I knew we were heading north or possibly east. Was it Manchester or Liverpool, Borth or Aberystwyth, Glasgow or Edinburgh? Endless possibilities. I felt like I was being kidnapped without the blindfold and gag. 

I waited patiently until eventually Mike said "this is our train." The announcer informed us that the train now standing on platform 1 was the 10:37 train to Glasgow, calling at Crewe, Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western, Preston, Lancaster, Oxenholme Lake District, Carlisle and Glasgow Central. OK, still so many possibilities. Were we changing at any of the stations? Was it the Lake District or the Yorkshire Dales? 

Eventually Mike told me we were getting off at the next stop, Lancaster, but that it wasn't our final destination. Ah ha, we were changing trains. Another wait and more musings until the train to Morecambe was announced and we made our way over the bridge to where the train was waiting.  A mere 10 minutes later we were by the sea. 

Mike suggested we had a short walk from the station to see how the restoration work on The Midland Hotel had turned out. We had passed through Morecambe in 2005 when the magnificent Art Deco building had  been boarded up while plans to restore it were already in the pipeline.

Urban Splash did a fantastic job.

We strolled down the stone jetty and back up again and Mike suggested we should go and find our B+B. I asked which way we had got to go as the Midland Hotel is pretty central as regards guest houses. Mike searched his pockets to find the directions.

"Hang on a second I'll have a look. Well according to this it isn't far." Mike started to pull the suitcase and I quickly caught up and walked alongside him, straight up the ramp to the front door and into the Midland Hotel! I just burst into tears and called him a silly b*****d. I stood in the reception area speechless and vaguely heard the young man on the desk say yes the room definitely had a sea view. 

Into the lift and up to the third floor to our room. 

Note the 2 full length opening windows onto a balcony!!

Yes the bath has a full length window overlooking Morecambe Bay.
The view from the bed. 
Mike in his complimentary bathrobe!
Part 2 tomorrow!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Cottoning on

I would like to say that this post was about a marvellous piece of sewing, but it's not. In fact I have sold my old machine on eBay and it is being collected over the weekend. 

I would like to say I have knitted a wonderful cotton top, but the knitting is still sitting in a bag under the coffee table, untouched for quite some time.

It isn't even about a cotton-tailed rabbit, which is just as well as Toni would have put paid to it by now. 

No today is our cotton wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary darling, your cotton socks are in the post. 

Monday, 10 June 2013

If you didn't laugh you'd cry.

I know I'm 50 next week, but I still reckon Boots are taking the p....

One thing is for sure, Paula would have howled with laughter at my expense. 

Sunday, 9 June 2013


You look at the clock and remember where you were a week, a month, a year ago. I remember we were in Liverpool a year ago. I remember we held a very special lady's hand all night long and watched over her while her true love snatched a few hours rest.  We will never forget how precious those last few hours were, how privileged  we were to share them with Bernard. I know it sounds "wrong" but we both really feel privileged to have been there.  
I cannot begin to express how sad we are going to feel tomorrow, but for tonight we will remember how we felt sitting up all night with Paula. How grateful for life we were as we sat there and how guilty I feel that Bernard, Karen and so many more spouses whose names I will never know, are now alone. In truth the guilt tonight is fleeting, I am proud to say I held Paula's hand, kissed her and told her how much I loved her. I also told her how much I was going to miss her. 

I still do.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

When life gives you lemons.......

....... Make limoncello! 

Mike and I are off to a rather special birthday bash in July so being extremely good guests we decided to go down armed with a lashings of home made limoncello and mountains of cakes. The cakes can't be be made this far in advance, but the same cannot be said for limoncello!

By the time the party arrives in July there will be a gallon of limoncello ready to be bottled. The good news is that it keeps for a couple of years, so if it doesn't all get drunk we will be able to keep it until Christmas.

Now what sort of cake? 

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Jumping June

Now where on earth did the last 5 months go? June is upon us and what a busy month it is going to be. I just hope the weather starts to improve. I think everyone feels so much better when the sun is shining. It doesn't have to be a heatwave for me, just nice to have the sun on my face while I walk Toni and do odd jobs outside. 

I am also going to try (yet again) to blog more frequently. Luckily with so much going on I should manage to think of something to say.

Mike and I have a new hobby, eBay and car boots. There's nothing better than selling something that you thought no one else would want, although I usually wish I hadn't sold the item when I actually come to wrap it. If you've seen the TV programmes about hoarders you'll know how compulsive hoarding can be. I'm not at that stage quite, but I can empathise with them. 

Today I have sold this: 

A rather fetching green vase. I just hope I can let it go when it's new owner collects it later.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Awkward pause.

Awkward. That is how I feel about being an in-law in the myeloma family. Mike is well and we try to live as normally as possible, well as normal as Mike ever is. Mike's remission isn't the only reason though.

It has been creeping up on me over the last nine months or so, a sense that I don't belong. It is a very touchy and tricky situation when the people you want to support make it clear in their blogs they don't want help, sympathy, empathy, comparisons or advice, especially from someone who is only the partner of a myeloma sufferer / victim / patient / host? Even the label we use is open to ferocious debate. They are of course entitled to say whatever they want, it is after all their Myeloma journey / fight / battle. I get the anger, I'd be mad too if I was under 50 and diagnosed with something incurable. I wish there was a phrase book that I could use so I don't offend, I wish they could all agree on an acceptable term, but just as each person's myeloma is unique to them, so is their response and the terminology they prefer to hear.

One blogger Alex had quite a bit to say on the subject and I have to confess it has left me not saying anything much any more. How can I comment on Deborah's pain? What do I say to Wendy about her test results? 

It's easy to comment on the blogs of people who aren't touched by the big M, or who are themselves looking out for a loved one, but increasingly difficult otherwise. So if I have said anything to offend anybody out there I am truly sorry.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Go jump off a bridge!

Or not as the case may be. Mike spotted last week that Myeloma UK are holding a sponsored abseil off the Forth Rail Bridge to raise funds. It turns out that his family used to visit relatives in Edinburgh and as a child he had always wanted to go up there rather than stand at the bottom and watch the man painting it on his little seat on a rope. So Mike of course called them up and asked if he could, as a Myeloma patient, take part. The nice lady on the other end of the phone said "oh, well, I'm not sure whether it is advisable or not. I'll have to speak to a colleague and call you back." A minute later he got a call saying that if he signed a disclaimer and got a letter from his consultant then yes he could take part.  

It just so happened that yesterday afternoon Mike had an appointment to see the rather marvellous Dr SB so after the pleasantries of everything is still under control and you are doing better than I expected (the later more implied than said) Mike raised the issue of the letter. I'll skip the conversation that followed and simply say Dr SB won't be dictating to his secretary any time soon.  He did say "can't you find a safer way to raise money? Surely there has got to be an easier way?"

Mike reckons he just wants to keep his favourite guinea pig alive, which I wholeheartedly agree with. 

Monday, 15 April 2013

Thursday, 21 March 2013

A month already?

I can hardly believe it is almost a month since I last blogged. While the time seems to have flown by, every day life has been slow. Despite my son having moved out just before Christmas it has taken until this week to finally finish decorating and furnishing his old room so that my girls can finally have a bedroom each, not bad given that the one is 20 and the other 18. I am such an inadequate mother. 

Mike finally seems to have shaken off the chest infection that was followed by a bad throat (touch wood!) and is feeling more like his normal self. 

The lack of progress on the various projects I have started frustrates me. The cause and effect of the frustration is my old foe depression. I achieve nothing, I get depressed, the depression paralyses me and I achieve nothing. I have struggled with depression all my adult life. Often it arrives for no apparent reason and I can work my way through various methods until it lifts. The real problem is when it arrives for a reason outside of my control like now. Financial worries are wide spread, and there are others far worse off, I know. I can say it to you all, but in reality right now I only care about me, Mike and my girls. Yet I can do nothing, I am paralysed by the fear of losing everything. My head is frantically trying to work out a solution and at the same time trying to bury itself in the sand. While others are busy writing out their bucket lists of wonderful things they want to do I am writing out a list of how I can save money in order to keep a roof over my head and food in the cupboard. OK it hasn't quite got to that stage yet, but it might do soon. 

I just hope the lottery ticket I bought wins tomorrow. 

Friday, 22 February 2013

Belated Photo Friday

These are the photos I took last Friday when my garden looked as if Spring had arrived. It was short-lived, we now have cold grey weather again and the forecast of snow tomorrow. 


Almost daffodil
I should have posted them last week, but things have been a little chaotic. I followed Mike down the path of ill health, but of course was unable to take to my bed. I feel mostly recovered now, unlike Mike, who is still in bed, not eating properly, his sense of smell triggering nausea attacks so bad there have been nights we couldn't be in the same room. 

I don't think I need say how my nerves are. 

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Happy Valentine's Day, I think.

Happy Valentine's Day dear readers. I hope you are all feeling loved today, whether by a sweetheart or by friends and family.  

Traditionally the day is for lovers and secret admirers, a day when you can express your true feelings without embarrassment. Today as we all know it is a bit too commercial, flowers that you could buy last week for £5 cost £15 today. Oh well. 

Obviously it is a day for giving out love as well as receiving and so Mike has hit the jackpot. Laid up in bed with a very nasty chest infection it isn't going to be a day of champagne and chocolates or even a card, instead he has me waiting on him hand and foot (where does that expression come from?) while he doesn't even know what day it is. 

I shall have to keep myself occupied with giving out more love with a project that would have had Paula reaching for her stash, and probably having completed a dozen by now. As some of you might already know if you read Deb B.'s blog, she had the idea of donating hand knitted or crocheted hats to cancer patients at her local hospital and hopefully further afield. 

Off to tend to my patient. Spread the love people. 

Friday, 8 February 2013


Today I would like to rant about how unfair life can be. 
How I was born too short and too wide.
How my father left and my mother hated me for it.
How alone I feel in a crowded room.
How I found my soul mate, for him to be struck by the big C.
How I'll never swim with dolphins or visit Santa Claus.

But instead I will count my blessings.
A man who loves me as I am.
Five children who are all good people.
An internet of friends who pop by at times of need.
I have precious memories of true love.
I have Toni, my garden and an imagination. 

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Six degrees of separation

I realised early this week that it is possible to play the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game with myeloma. I thought it might be fun to demonstrate one such game today. 

Mike is married to Lorna.

Lorna's ex-husband is married to an ex-school nurse K.
K lives in Hitchin.
The Hitchin office sent Deb B an edible bouquet 

So Mike and Deb B. are linked not only in myeloma. Ta da!

I can actually link Paula to Deb B. in two more steps.

Deb B went to watch a recording of Jonathan Ross.

One of the guests was Dolph Lundgren, Paula's favourite hunk. 

I will spend all of my time from now on linking people! :-)

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Bad friend.

Oh f@#% * . I realised yesterday, too late, that I had forgotten to buy and post a birthday card to Bernard. Sorry Bernard.

So instead I will say

Happy 50th Birthday B.
We hope you have a good one, Paula would have loved taking the pee out of you being an "old man" now. x x x


Please feel free to leave more birthday wishes in the comments and I will make sure Bernard  gets to see them.

Friday, 1 February 2013

First February Photo Friday

That's a mouthful of a title! Happy February one and all. It is currently raining here, no surprise there then. 

As usual I am left wondering where January went. For a month with the full complement of 31 days it doesn't half go quickly, has anyone else noticed that? Let's hope the next four weeks don't go so quickly, every day counts when you're clinging on to a decade! 

Last night we watched a wonderful programme "Secret Life of Dogs" narrated by Martin Clunes. The dogs they featured were all amazing. One bottle fed lambs on a farm, another was a search and rescue dog and another, Max, diagnosed his owner's breast cancer. There were tears for Endal the assistance dog who had died in his owner's lap and joy at simply knowing what dogs mean to so many people.

Toni aged 3 months the day after we got her. 
Up until we got Toni I thought I was a cat person, I'd only ever had cats as pets. But since her arrival I have come to realise that I am in fact a dog person. I will never again be without a dog. She makes me laugh, she has kept me company when Mike has been in hospital and I cannot imagine life without her.

The following "video" is photos of Toni along with the noise she makes when I leave her. My daughter caught her doing it one day when she thought no one else was in the house.

It seems she can't live without us either.

4:30 pm  A quick add-on, the rain stopped around lunchtime and I was able to get out into the garden to plant the hanging baskets with primulas. 

I didn't use a flash and yet the yellow primula still shines like a buttercup! :-)

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Buzzing blogs.

Good morning fellow voyeurs. Now come on admit it, the reason we read other people's blogs is because we are all a tiny bit voyeuristic or to put it another way, downright nosey! 

So I thought I would share two new blogs that I have recently found. The first one is written by another Deborah (Deb B.) who was originally a smoulderer, but is now a fully paid up member of the UK club. She seems to have an extremely interesting life and I'm a tiny bit jealous of that. :-) You can read her stuff here.

The second is completely unrelated to myeloma, but is by a strange coincidence linked to Deb B. who works in mental health. On Saturday we went to a fund raiser for a small charity called Volunteers For Mental Health more specifically for Sam and Laura who are about to go out to Romania to work in a psychiatric department. They have sold a lot of their belongings and had tried to sell their house to fund their trip. They are going to keep a blog which you can read here if you fancy it. 

I am also busy keeping up to date reading about RugbyHubby's exploits as he goes through his SCT. I'm sure he wouldn't mind more cheerleaders should you wish to add your two penneth (two cents worth.) 

In other news, I have lost 1/2 lb this week, I think the copious amounts I drank over the weekend might not have helped. ;-)

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Post 300!

According to Blogger, this is post number 300. I think that calls for a celebration. No hang on, I said yesterday that Mike's birthday was the last one until May so instead of cake I will ramble on about everything and nothing all at the same time. 

Three years ago Mike and I were sitting here in a dazed state, well I was sitting here, Mike had his job to go to every day, he had something to take his mind off what might be said on February 1st. With time on my hands and an internet connection I was soon reading all about Myeloma. Now people say you shouldn't Google Myeloma, but if I hadn't I wouldn't have found Paula's blog, and from there Roobeedo's. I wouldn't have gotten to know DeniseSandy, Sean Murray, Susie or Rugbyhubby, who are now all Facebook friends. I wouldn't have known the joy and hope of sharing a tiny bit of the family life of Phil and Cassie as they took on a SCT and had a new baby all within a few weeks. We have gathered new friends and their blogs along the way and lost some too. 

I like to think that one day, our little blog, might be that little ray of sunshine that lifts the spirits, just as Paula's was to us. 

Thank you all for writing and reading. I don't know what I would have done without you. xoxox

Friday, 25 January 2013

Happy Photo Friday

Or should that be Happy Birthday Photo Friday!

Today is Mike's birthday. It is also Deb's, Happy Birthday Deb. For those in the club, each birthday is a major milestone and where once they might have dreaded "another year older" birthdays are great markers to be celebrated even if it means you're older. 

Three years ago we were waiting for Mike's "official" diagnosis but we had been given a rather nifty leaflet entitled "Lymphoma, Leukaemia and Myeloma" so we had kind of guessed things weren't looking too rosy and I for one was in the depths of despair and had a general "this will be his last" attitude.  Of course as is so often the case, I was wrong, thank goodness. 

Two years ago Mike had literally just come out of hospital after his SCT and celebrating was the last thing on his mind. 

Last year Mike was still getting over a chest infection so I think that this year is probably the first birthday since 2009, that Mike and I have really both felt up to celebrating. 

Mike's 11th Birthday party.

So this morning I have been baking Mike a fruitcake and because not everyone likes fruitcake I've made cupcakes too. I reckon the day is special enough for me to forget the diet for one day and any way, today is the last birthday in the house until May when we celebrate Toni's and then middle daughter's within a couple of days of each other. 

Thursday, 24 January 2013

The snow remains

Those of you who know us lot on those little islands stuck somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean between America and Europe will understand what happens when we get what is considered a bit of snow. The whole country closes down. There is a lot of complaining by the media about it. But if you consider that the weather is so changeable that we cannot even guarantee we will have snow or rain or sun in any given year then you will also understand  that we just aren't set up for extremes. We don't do 3 months of snow which doesn't thaw until Spring or long hot summers that stretch for months.

The canal which froze covered in snow. 

So we still have snow. Snow that has frozen onto the pavements, which makes walking Toni a nightmare as despite several "no pull" harnesses and several years of attempted training, Toni will insist on pulling and then suddenly stopping as she picks up any interesting scents that might be wafting about. So in short I haven't done any walking for a week now. 

I am hoping that it is the lack of exercise which is responsible for my slightly less impressive loss of only 1 lb this week. Still a loss is a loss and so I can't complain too much! 

In other news, Mike had an appointment on Monday with his haematologist. It took all of 2 minutes to be told nothing has changed and come back in three months! I guess I shouldn't complain about that either. 

Friday, 18 January 2013

Snowy Photo Friday

Like most of Great Britain we have snow today so my photo opportunities have been  limited with my very basic digital camera. The snow is that very fine stuff which always settles. It reminds me of something I heard as a child on a 1970s TV programme called HOW. They explained an old weather saying, "Big snow, little snow. Little snow, big snow." The bigger the flake the smaller the amount of snow on the ground. 

Toni loves playing in the snow, but only when it has stopped falling, so for now she is just looking out of the window to check what is happening outside.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

You see I can do it!

Home made low fat coleslaw 3.4 g fat per 100 g. 
I struggled to find a witty title for today's post. I have days like today when my brain seems to be made of cotton wool and trying to think is like wading through treacle. Mike is lucky, he can always blame chemo brain, I have to blame my age! 

After last week's major moan there was a mega "heated discussion" that lasted a couple of days, but eventually the air was cleared. I think that is why the past week I have behaved myself. I decided to go back to keeping a record of everything I eat and drink, so that if I have a good week in terms of weight loss I can go back and do the same should another week be less successful. This week I have eaten sensibly and walked about 10 miles.  The meals haven't been boring either, Saturday was a low fat beef, onion and pepper burger with salad and low fat coleslaw, Sunday was a proper roast and Tuesday was Southern fried style chicken with wedges and coleslaw. I have lost 4 pounds. 

Let's hope by tomorrow my brain is a bit more with it so I can think of a witty photo for Photo Friday!!!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Photo Friday

Thank you for your kind comments on yesterday's post. Co-incidentally a facebook friend shared a "43 lessons of life written by a 90 year old" post yesterday and one of the points was that only you can make yourself happy, which  I guess means I'm not responsible for having to make anyone else happy, that concept might take a while to sink in, but I'll try and remember it. 

Any way, I've decided to try a new idea of putting a happy photo on every Friday. I'm not an expert at getting the focus perfect, my eyesight has reached that stage where I need glasses to read and a different pair to see distances and the fine area in between is illusive, so trying to see what is on the little screen on the camera is a real challenge. Most of the time it won't matter as I'm sure you will still get the idea. 

This week I have two photos that make me feel happy. First there is the amaryllis that my eldest daughter bought me for Christmas and which started flowering about a week ago, with  at least another four flowers still in bud.

The second one is of the willow by my pond in the garden. The pussy willow makes me happy for quite a lot of reasons. It reminds me of walking to the pub with my granddad when I was around seven years of age, as we passed large areas where the willow was used as a natural hedge. It's a very early reminder that the darkest days of Winter are over and that Spring is making its way to us. 

The willow that grows in my garden was actually part of a beautiful bouquet given to me by a florist that I helped during Valentine's Day and Mother's Day in 2008. The pussy willow in the arrangement took root in the water and so I planted it in the garden. A permanent reminder of someone's kindness. 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Emotional eating.

As you have probably guessed I haven't lost any weight this week or if you are an optimist I haven't put any on. I only managed two healthy days before I returned to my bad habit of eating and drinking to satisfy my emotional hunger, a phrase I heard twice last night during two different TV programmes. I cannot really go into everything that has made me emotionally hungry here. 

I often find myself in an endless downward spiral of I'm overweight, so I'm unhappy and unable to do things, which makes me eat, which makes me hate myself, which make me eat, which makes me unhappy, which makes Mike try and help by suggesting I try exercise, which I struggle with as I get very short of breath, which makes me eat, and so it goes on and on. I have to break the cycle, but to do so I have to try and make both myself and Mike more content, not an easy task. 

I still can't believe Paula has been gone 7 months to the day. 

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Epiphany? Not quite.

Today is 6th January. Epiphany. Three Kings Day. Women's Christmas. There was a time when people celebrated the festival with Twelfth Cake and Epiphany Tart. Today it is simply marked by those of us who have stuck to tradition as a day to take down the decorations. One of my pet peeves is people who put the decorations up 1st December only to take them down New Years Day. I know we've all lost the real meaning of Christmas, but given it was based on a pagan festival that lasted the same length of time, even heathens could leave the tree up until today. 

Such a shame really. I wonder if other countries have lost their customs too? No more brave young men jumping into the freezing rivers in Bulgaria, OK that's a dangerous custom. Do Argentine children still leave grass and water out for the camels along with their shoes in the hope of a gift? Do people still make King Cakes with a bean or porcelain figure hidden in it? 

So today the decorations come down leaving the house feeling bare. Tomorrow my youngest turns 18. I will no longer be responsible for anyone but myself. For 25 years I have been the one to blame for the health (the eczema was caused by the washing powder I bought), behaviour ("people like you shouldn't be allowed to have kids" when an extremely naughty toddler refused to walk and sat on the floor, so I went on without him), eating habits ("you should have made her eat something other than chips and pizza, in my day we ate what was put in front of us or went hungry"), homework ("you really should make sure he/she does the work set"), exam results (obviously I didn't nag them enough to do revision), you name it I get blamed for it, for one child or another or even all! I have been blamed by everyone from health visitors,doctors and teachers to my own kids and family at various points in their lives, funnily enough no one ever seemed to blame their absent father who took off 13 years ago. 

That's more than half my life so far! 25 years of bearing the burden of having to kiss it better and solve all the problems children tend to have. So how am I going to celebrate this new found freedom? I really don't know. 

Happy Birthday littlest one!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Here's to 2013!

Happy New Year everyone. It has just occurred to me that for those very superstitious people out there  it is going to be a very long year especially if they have to write down the shortened date on a daily basis! Luckily I'm not superstitious, but I am ever so slightly apprehensive about the milestone birthday which will arrive in June. 

As we start a new year with a nice fresh diary (actually I haven't got one, I forgot both diary and calendar) I am resolute that I won't be "fat and fifty". So I will try my best over the next few months to lose a bit of weight and get into a reasonable shape. It won't be easy, as I've mentioned before, my relationship with food tends to be rather chaotic, food to celebrate and food to commiserate, either way it is always the unhealthy stuff that makes it to my plate. I need to be in a permanent state of neutralness! I'm a total food addict. 

After the success of Thinning Thursdays two years ago I realised that having to report back to all my blog readers (real or imagined) spurred me on to actually lose weight each week for fear of the shame of reporting a gain. So I hope you will all indulge me and allow me to take up valuable space in the blog-o-sphere with my dieting anecdotes.  I might even post some really lovely recipes for low fat healthy meals including home made burgers and coleslaw (home made too), low fat Southern fried style chicken (baked in the oven) and of course my butter nut squash and  bacon soup. Tonight it is a healthy chilli con carne, the only argument will be how spicy to make it.