Tuesday, 30 June 2009


My knees have been really dodgy for about a year. I had presumed it was my rheumatoid arthritis but after visits to my consultant, MRI scans, it turns out I have osteoarthritis in them as well (same as my ankles and spine - lucky me!). The only solution that was likely to bring any improvement was surgery. As they have been bad enough to really restrict my walking up/down stairs and hills for the last 6 months+ and I have not been able to ride my bike I decided that I would have surgery. This has taken an awful long time to come round. As you will see from the photograph though - it is now done. I opted to have both knees done at the same time as it would have just been too inconvenient to go through it all twice. The surgery was keyhole to wash out the joints and to smooth off the cartilage around the bone that had gotten too rough, causing the pain. Surprisingly I managed to have it done as day surgery (I never usually manage to get things to go to plan), I was second on the list and so was wheeled down to theatre about 10.30 back on the ward for 12.30 and home about 4.30! I have a whole rigmarole to go through now including having to wear tubigrip through a heat wave from Thursday - aghhhh. Hopefully though in a couple of months time I should be bouncing around for the first time in quite a while.

Friday, 26 June 2009


Memories are funny creatures I think. Sometimes you might feel that you can control them and then suddenly they will pop out from nowhere and startle you.

Today there is a lot of media attention on the sudden death of Michael Jackson. I probably haven't thought of this talented if not tortured man very much in the last 10 years. However I was only talking about him this time last week when we were at the O2 arena in London. There were adverts up all over the place about his upcoming 50 date tour. This had prompted a conversation between my husband and myself about whether we felt he would ever be able to complete all 50 dates.

So where is the link between memories and Michael Jackson. Well it was a trip to see this remarkable man at the Milton Keynes Bowl in the late 1980's that proved to be the beginning of a relationship that ended with much pain. It was a time before I became a Christian when I was searching for my place in the world. So the memories I am having today are not great ones, I feel very sad at the thought of that relationship and I also feel very sad that this talented man never appeared to find a place in this world and just hope he has found his place now.

Monday, 22 June 2009

A Fantastic Time

This is a very self-indulgent blog - sorry about it's length but I really wanted to make sure I got down all the things I did on our night away. It may be a while before we get another one. We are both very gratefull to Auntie Helen for coming and looking after the children for us - the children had a ball!

Brian and I arrived in London before Lunch on Friday for the start of our 'free' night away. Being aware of my physical limitations at the moment we made the decision to get a rover ticket on the Thames boats so that I didn't have to walk too far. We parked near our hotel by Tower Bridge and caught the boat and gently cruised up to Westminster. The picture of the left is taken outside Trinity House by Tower Bridge.

The Millennium pedestrian bridge over towards St Pauls. The weather wasn't too hot, and though it threatened rain a few times we didn't get any at all.

The Hotel we were booked into was really lovely. We were on the 11th floor and had a HUGE room. I cannot remember the last time we stayed in a hotel where you couldn't hear a sound in the rest of the hotel. We went down to the Spa and both had a neck, shoulder and back massage before having a swim, sauna and jacuzzi.

After a lovely meal we then headed out to the O2 arena to see the Pet Shop Boys. We had great seats for what we had paid for.

The set was wonderfully simple and yet so well used. There were also 4 dancers who were absolutely brilliant - I'd have paid to see them alone.

The music was great, our last experience at the 02 was not so good so it was great to find out that there were good seats to be had!

This was the view from our hotel when we returned.

This was the view in the morning - what beautiful clouds. You can see the Tower of London with Tower Bridge behind it and just glimpse the Thames on the right hand centre.

After staying in the hotel and having a very leisurely breakfast in our room we then took the car and found free parking outside the Tate Gallery. It was just lovely to wonder round at our own pace we even managed to loose each other in one of the exhibitions we were so immersed in what we were looking at. Does anyone know why Turner painted the same puffy cloudy looking tree in almost all his paintings?
After some lunch we took the car closer to Hyde Park and had a lovely hour to finish off our time alone.

This is the Albert Memorial poking out of the trees.

As we sat chatting I suddenly noticed this love heart in front of us made by the trees! I have started to get very interested in photography - partly prompted by a new lens we brought my husband for Fathers Day!

I have decided I really do like rows of trees!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

The Spoon Theory

Susanne over at http://meditativemeanderings.blogspot.com/ introduced me to an amazing story that a lady wrote telling how she explained being chronically ill to a friend. http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/navigation/BYDLS-TheSpoonTheory.pdf

I can totally concur with this description. Over the last 13 years of my rheumatoid arthritis I have just about come to grips with knowing on a daily basis how many 'spoons' I am holding. Some days it is more than others. Some days I do have to knowingly borrow into another days aware that there is no way I will every 'steal' some more from somewhere, there is always payback.

Like Job in the bible, I sometimes have my moments of frustration as to why God feels it is necessary for me to go through having RA! However I do also have days of knowing that I rely on Him so much more in all parts of my life because of it and for that I can be extremely thankful. Again like Job I do not need others to give me their 'knick-knack wisdom' (Job Chapter 13 verse 12 The Message version). Others may have experiences similar to mine, but no one else has my experience. If I was given the choice of a healthy body and no faith, or a sick body and faith, I would not even have to begin to think about it I would go for the faith EVERY time.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Thank God from whom all blessings flow.

This Friday my husband and I are having one heck of a good treat. I have known about it for a few months but as so many of our plans have ended up backfiring in the last 6 months I kept this one pretty much under wraps.

Last December I turned 40 and we were booked to go to Prague for 5 days, unfortunately with my sister dying this had to be cancelled. This was the most major back fire but there have been a couple of other attempts at night away without the children that haven't happened because of illness as well.

So where are we going? Check out this place http://www.grangehotels.com/Hotels-London/Grange-City-Hotel/Grange-City-Hotel.aspx we will also be having treatments in the hotels spa. We will also get to go to http://www.caferouge.co.uk/ for a meal and then to http://www.lacagelondon.com/ to watch the show!

The best bit of all - it is all FREE!!! My fabulous husband religiously completes the quiz in our TV magazine every week, in the past we have won bottles of wine, DVD's, Games, but never before a BIG prize. As well as all the above being paid for we were also sent £100 to cover our travel, though we haven't quite decided how we are going to do this yet.

My lovely sister in law is coming over to pick the 2 little children up from school for us on Friday and staying over at our place to look after all 3 of them until we get back.

My week is feeling brighter already just knowing that I have this fab experience to look forward to at the end of it!!

Thank God from whom all Blessings flow!!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Begrudgingly Resentful

I love words, scrabble is my most favourite game to play. Words do not however come that easily to me, I lose them, forget them and very often cannot spell them. Coming from a family full of people with dyslexia I think I have come off very lightly.

Since reading a blog by Katharine on her tendency to be critical http://www.10minutewriter.com/?p=346 I have had the words Begrudge and Resent going round and round in my head. Today I have at last found a few minutes when I have been motivated to go and get out my husbands very large Chambers English Dictionary to look these words up, this is what I found:

Begrudge - to grudge, Grudge - to envy, to give or allow unwillingly; to resent; to murmur at - to murmur, to show discontent, an old cause of quarrel or resentment; a feeling of enmity or envy.

Resent - to take in, consider as an injury or affront; to feel joy or sorrow because of; to receive, well or badly, to savour.

Now that I have looked them up I would much rather say that I am a resentful person rather than a Begrudging one. However I have to be honest and say that it is very much the other way round for me at the moment.

What started this feeling for me this week - a bed. How silly does that sound. Let me explain, having recently had a 12 year old addition to our family we have been having to do lots of smoothing and reassuring to our two birth children who are 8 and 9 years old. The 8 year old has required the most attention in this department possibly due to being the same sex as the 12 year old (female!).

A few weeks ago we had a conversation where she explained that having an older girl in the family made her feel even younger and so we brainstormed some ideas on how we could make her feel a little more grown up. The result was a decision was made to purchase her a bed with a desk under it so that she had her own space for doing her crafty bits and pieces - and writing. Up until now she has had a small table in our living/dining room where she has done these types of activity.

The bed was purchased and I felt reasonably okay that we had reached a good solution to this immediate problem and our intention had always been to get this sort of bed for our two small children's rooms eventually anyway.

It was not until the bed arrived by courier (flat packed for us to make) on Monday afternoon that it's reality really started to dawn on me. As I tucked my daughter into bed on Tuesday evening I knew that this was going to be the last time that I could easily see her sleeping before I went to bed.

That's when the Begrudging really took hold. I did not feel ready for her to grow up. The reality is that I really have not had any control over the circumstances that have brought an extra child into our house. Yes we have made the decision to do what we are doing but I have to admit it is more because we could not face the consequences of us making any other decision.

So having a grudge is not going to help me or my family, so I shall ask God to replace it with Grace and I shall wait expectantly for him to give me that.

ps. My daughter loves her new bed as you can see from the photos!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Watching the butterfly emerging.

I have just had a lovely weekend with my parents and our new extended family. We are no longer 4 but 5. I am not making a big official announcement just yet but am planning to do so very soon.

The picture above is my mum having her first paddle of the year in the sea. Our lives have been in complete turmoil for the last 7 months since my little sister died aged 36. My mum has had to deal with the returning grief she felt when her mum died when she was 6 years old, as well as her new grief of losing her youngest child and becoming completely responsible with my dad for their 12 year old granddaughter.

The result of all this has been a very steep dive into a terrible depression. She was almost sectioned at one point becoming a severe danger to herself. When I took this photo though I could almost see the wings starting to unfold on her back. I do so hope and pray that she is coming out of this depression. I know she will never be quite the same ever again but I am so grateful I still have her physically in my life.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Too tired

I soooo want to write but my brain seems to have gone on strike. How come it is the one thing that I do want to do that I don't seem to be able to? It makes me want to stamp my foot and revert to the acceptable behaviour of a 2 year old, which is sadly unacceptable for a 40 year old.
Oh well, I will try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The Climb by Miley Cyrus

On Saturday I went to see Hannah Montana the Movie. I was not expecting anything spectacular but knew my daughter desperately wanted to see it as High School Musical is now 'rubbish' and Hannah Montana is 'It'.

It was an okay film, reasonably harmless, typically Disney a good old moral story, I would watch it again.

What I didn't expect was to be so touched by one line in the movie and the song 'The Climb'.

The line was something like "you have to climb the mountains in life otherwise you won't get to see the view".

The song was this:

While I was watching this song being sung I was whisked back in time to a moment on my honeymoon back in 1996. We were driving into Yosemite National Park, on our way my husband noticed a view point and stopped the car. There were just some rocky old steps going into some trees and it didn't look like a view point at all. I was very reticent about getting out but was eventually persuaded. When I did this is what we saw:

To say my breath was taken away was an understatement. I had never seen anything like it before - it was the first time I had the feeling of being 'on top of the world' and I am so very thankful I never missed it.

One of my favourite psalms in the bible is 121 where we are encouraged to lift our eyes up to the mountains to remember where our help comes from. Indeed this song and this memory has certainly done that for me.

I am still basking in thankfulness towards my faithful heavenly Father, for being able to relive this memorable moment of one of the happiest times of my life. Also for being reminded while listening to 'The Climb' that the hard slog which is life at the moment is and will continue to be so worthwhile, hopefully not just for me.

Monday, 1 June 2009

What a Week

We have had a jolly good half term week, we didn't go away, but got to do lots of nice things and the weather apart from one day was just gorgeous! Here is a quick snapshot of our week.

Sunday - as I was officially not working we decided to take the day off from church and spent the day finishing off jobs, my youngest decided she wanted to learn to do her own ironing!

I also made a card for our lovely friends whose baby arrived 2 weeks early!

Tuesday was spent having water fights in the garden.

Wednesday it rained almost all day so plans to go to the park with friends were exchanged for 10 of us going bowling and out to lunch.

Thursday - finally my hubby was around for the day so we got to go and do the treetop walk at Kew Gardens in West London. We are able to go in for free as we have annual tickets to a garden near us that also allows us admission into Kew. We had to cut the day short as hubby was off to see the Manic Street Preachers with some friends in the evening (back in London!).

Friday was a beach day, we love going to see Grandma Jean (a friends mum) who has a beach hut down in Alum Chine in Bournemouth. The children love it here, this was our newest arrivals first time and she loved it - couldn't get her out of the sea! I had the extra bonus of going out for a meal with a friend that evening, we had a Mexican in Southampton and treated ourselves to a taxi there and back therefore able to enjoy a jolly nice bottle of fair trade wine.

Saturday was busy jobs day - getting all the bedding washed, the children doing their jobs to get their pocket money. In the afternoon I was able to escape the heat with the girls and a friend and her daughter to go and watch Hannah Montana at our local cinema - this was great and hopefully I will blog about it another time!

Sunday the five of us walked to church and then went off to Reading in the afternoon to spend a lovely sunny afternoon with my sister in law and most of her family in the garden having a barbecue and being thoroughly looked after and spoilt.

My nieces.

My daughter and my son.

Today it was back to school and work, but with so many wonderful experiences under our belts I think we were all ready for it - roll on the summer holidays now.