Saturday, 31 May 2014

Ten minutes of writing.

My blogging friend Katharine over at 10 minute writer set a challenge on her facebook page to see how many words one could write in 10 minutes!  So this is my attempt at writing something that is not copied and that makes some sort of sense.  Sense to me anyway.  There are so many topics that come into my head during the day which I would like to blog about but then the time comes for me to sit down and the energy level to consider typing dips.  Why is this, could it be that Candy Crush is finally killing off the brain cells and wickedly keeping me from the key board?  Or could it be that since getting my tablet it is far easier to just surf around and not type anything?  I don't like typing on my tablet - it is just not the same as having a keyboard.  This means to write I have to make the extra effort of getting my laptop out and booting it up.  Oh the problems of the modern world!!!!  And most of the worlds population do not have enough to eat!!

So now my brain is starting to dry up.  What else can I type, I could tell you about the wonderful transformation that is taking shape in our garden.  Since moving into our home 14 years ago we have always been making do in the garden.  Trying to make the most of what was left us, which I have to say was very little.  Then this winter we had a series of storms which finally pulled down the fences.  We have had the two that we are responsible for re done and this week managed to get them painted.  The other one which we are not responsible for was also damaged in the storms but our neighbours decided to just use some old battered second hand panels to replace the ones that were severely damaged.  So this morning I set to with my daughter some fern panelling, a hammer and some nails and we have now screened off the horrid panels and it looks wonderful.  Maybe when I have finished my 10 minutes I will go take a photo so that you can see just how wonderful it is looking.  We also got the builders who did our fence to take up and relay to of the patio areas.  Making them both totally weed free and hopefully that will last.  So now there is just the area around the house that still needs relaying but we will have to wait for funds to appear before we can get that done.  In the meantime at least we will not have so much to weed!

So we are almost at my favourite part of gardening - that is the tidying up of the beds, maybe some new plants and definitely some pots that need filling with beautiful flowers.  I so hope the weather this summer is conducive to me being able to sit out and enjoy the garden this year.  Maybe we will even get in a few more BBQ's, we have already been lucky enough to have one.  That turned into a great bonfire  as we had the barby in the fire pit and then filled it with wood afterwards and had a great roaring fire.  Well this is it my 10 minutes is almost over.  Now I shall have to cut and paste this into a word document to find out just how many words I have managed to type in 10 minutes.  Laters xxxxxxxxxxxx

ps. just so you know the answer is 595 - not to shabby I have to say!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Why New Zealand

So many people asked me before going away to New Zealand why we were going there and to be honest it felt quite strange saying that we were all going to stay with someone I had never met before!  I seem to be making a bit of a habit of this.  First I went and met a fellow blogger Katharine over in Boston MA, we had known each other on-line for quite some years before I went and met her.  We were friends before we met but this visit cemented our friendship which continues to thrive! In fact my husband is going to meet up with her in November this year, but that is a whole other story!

Next we (not on my own this time) went and met another blogger that Katharine introduced us to, Susanne over near San Diego, CA. It really is so nice to be able to finally hear the voice that you read and share conversations with!

So back to the why New Zealand story.  First we have to roll the clock back several decades to when my husband was a teenager, he and a friend Howard decided to go inter-railing together around Europe.  I suppose in it's day it was the equivalent to taking a gap year, only this was done during the summer holidays and was a very cheap way of visiting lots of places!  They lost contact and then thanks to the joys of facebook they were reunited a few years ago.  At some point the two boys had a conversation that led me and Howard's wife Lyn into becoming facebook friends and playing scrabble daily with each other.

Lyn and I started to chat more and more as we played.  I discovered they had both been mental health nurses and Lyn had spent a lot of time doing adolescent mental health.  This is obviously a subject very close to my heart with my kinship caring saga with my niece, and on more than one occasion Lyn helped me to work out what my next steps were.

Then last year Howard came over to the UK on a visit to his family.  My husband Brian went up to his home town and met up with him for an evening and it seems they just picked up where they had left off all those years ago.  Howard made some comment about us going out to visit them - that may have been his biggest mistake.  I wonder how many times people say that not really meaning it???????

So, the rest is history, we decided to go for it.  The photo at the top shows Howard and Lyn on the far left with their daughter and then their son is over on the far right.  Next to their son on the far right are two more friends Paula and her daughter Bethany who came over from Australia to visit us.  Paula also knew Brian and Howard back in the teenage days when they were in a drama group together.  So there were many more years to catch up on there!  We have been fortunate to spend quite a bit of time with Paula and her ever growing family over the years and it was a very hard decision to go to New Zealand and not Australia on this visit, however, NZ it was to be and we were just thrilled that Paula brought Bethany over.

The photo below is of Lyn and I (we are wine tasting which must be why I am a bit blurred!), it was so lovely to give her a hug and to be able to thank her for being the pillar of support that she has been to me.  I couldn't believe that they had been living in NZ for about 15 years and had never visited a vineyard to do some FREE wine tasting.  So pleased we have sorted that out for them and jolly hope they go on to visit lots more - we only managed to do two.

Another friendship that I was also able to rekindle on this visit was with my lovely friend Sara.  We used to go to church together when we were both studying in West London.  I vividly remember her wedding to the lovely Brett (a kiwi) at the Salvation Army head quarters in central London.  It was only about 6 months after that wedding when we were about to get married that they moved over to New Zealand.  Since then we have kept touch every Christmas, we have spoken when Sara has been over in the UK but had not seen each other in the flesh for far too long.

Meeting her, Brett and their lovely children was just so good after all this time.  We have both been through tough times that neither of us had particularly shared with each other so there was an awful lot to catch up on.  But catch up we did and when I got Paula and Sara together it was lovely to go back over how we met, how Brett and Sara met and all the early days stuff over again.  Another wonderful spin off from this is the deep and meaningful emails we are now exchanging as we continue conversations about church and family.

So that is basically why we went to NZ.  I confess to hardly knowing anything about the country before going, except that a few friends had been and loved it.  My amazing husband spent so much time before we went doing all the research to decide where we would visit.  And he came up trumps with a brilliant itinerary!
It really is a most fascinating country and I would definitely like to get back and cover more, we were only able to do a very small bite.  I wonder how often people choose a holiday by the people they want to see rather than the country they want to visit!?!

The photo below is of my daughter Annie and Paula's daughter Bethany, I so pray that their friendship continues over the miles and that they get to share lots and lots of memories into the future.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Moving On.

It has taken me far too long to get back to my blog!  But I wanted to update you all on some exciting times.

I last posted about my mums inquest and the great mess the community mental health team had made, causing a huge delay and much upset.  Well the inquest took place the day before we went off on holiday and I am pleased to say that it was all concluded.  I felt very listened to by the coroner who questioned the mental health team very well to get a clear picture of what had happened with their input.  The psychiatric nurse that was looking after my mum is no longer working for the trust (although still had to attend the inquest) and it was good to hear the coroner say to the manager and consultant that he hoped they had learnt some valuable lessons.  I may still go on to ask for a formal apology from the NHS trust at some point but for the moment I am letting it go.

The following day we jetted off to New Zealand for what turned out to be a most Blessed time.  I just wanted to tell you today though about two incidents which have totally helped me to move on from all the happenings of the last 5 1/2 years.  The first was a visit to some beautiful gardens called Little Paradise gardens and lodge.  It turned out to be one of the places we went to because we saw it by chance and though on first and second passing of it we were too tired to go, there was that niggle that stayed with both my husband and I, that we needed to go! So off we went, and it really was like tasting a little bit of paradise.  If you click on the link above you can see much of it's beauty. 

We chatted with the owner/gardener and it was funny to hear him saying that it was not looking it's best (they are just going into Autumn) as to us it looked beautiful.  He was not only the gardener but the sculptor as well and the picture at the top if of a life size is one of his.  So why was this sculpture of the many the one that touched something deep deep down inside me?  To understand I need to tell you about the counselling session that I had before I went away.  My counsellor asked me to imagine my 12 year old self sitting in the empty chair in the room and asked me what I would like to do/say to her.  Now I have often thought about what I might say/write to myself, knowing what I know now.  However I have never considered what I would do...........  I was very taken aback and there was quite a long period of silence before my tears started to fall.  It turns out what I would really like to be able to do to that 12 year old self is to pick her up, hug her and tell her how much she is loved.  Which brings me onto the photo.......

It struck me immediately, the identical clothing just confirmed it, this was me swinging, loving and enjoying my younger self - WOW!

I am sure this does not sound as profound as it feels for me but I wanted to get it written down.  I know there will be times when I forget about that moment and those feelings and I want to have a written reminder to go back to.

The next thing I want to tell you about is maybe a little more frightening!  I'll let the photo's tell the story.


192 metres + free falling +11 seconds of sheer exhilaration = JOY!!!!!!!

and if you want to know how much noise I made about it here you go

So I have left the past behind and am moving on, it feels great.  I am under no illusions, I know I will still have bad days but for now I feel like I can conquer the world!

God Bless,  Jane x.