Port De Soller Mallorca

Port De Soller Mallorca

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

What a year, 2013 was!

2013 has been a memorable year for me and Ishbel.

As you know we have 5 grand kids and as they get older they get funnier and our love for them just keeps getting stronger and stronger.  They have managed to bring so much laughter into our lives and I am sure they will continue to do so.  Even as I 'pen' this little year end tale I can hear Holly Kennedy laughing and giggling, she has just been to the loo determined not to copy grandmas's earlier disaster who apparently went to the loo, got her onsie off only to discover she sat on the loo with the sleeve of said garment IN THE LOO, and then proceeded to pee on it, what can I say, it is New Years Eve and she did have a glass of the red stuff with dinner ..... which caused much hilarity and rolling on the floor holding sore sides from laughing at poor grandma. Me I don't have that problem with my onsie as mine has a double action top to bottom and bottom to top zipper, oh yeah we guys have it easy, don't we.....

From L to R: Shannon (7), Lacey May (2 &3/4s), Holly (7), Charlie (7) and Mollie (10 &3/4s) 

Although I do feel for poor Charlie sometimes when the five of them get together and he is outnumbered and outflanked at every turn, bless him.

Talking of onsie's, Jennifer has been threatening to buy one for me for months and I said she shouldn't waste her money as I would never wear one, but she could bury me in it, if and when I ever die; as usual, she ignored me and so as dad's and granddads do all over the world, I had to bow to the inevitable ......

On the left with Charlie and Holly and on the right with Lacey Mae, Mollie and Shannon...

The things we have to do to please our loved ones and in doing that nothing else really matters does it?

2013 was entered into with the same note of optimism that Ishbel and I enter every New Year, hoping that the new Year will always be slightly better than the last.  And, all in all it has been a good year.  The kids continue to grow in stature (well apart from poor Mollie who continues to not grow horizontally, but that smile....)  as well as in learning. Their love of all things life, is inspirational.  We continue, as their Mums and Dads do, to always learn something new and to read everything they can get their hands on.  Charlie won a reading competition a few months ago and his prize, to manage the local library in Raunds one Saturday.  He asked if Holly could be co manager and so she too joined in on that.  I did get a pang at that as she can be a right wee bossy boots and I pictured her in my minds eye marching up to some unsuspecting patron to demand that they keep the noise down and that they should turn the pages quietly, but apparently it went off without a hitch. All 4 biggies continue to get praise and awards and certificates from their respective schools and they love the learning process too.

We had some great days out too during the year, tiring but great with visits to fun parks and picnics in the park, the kids continue to face time me relentlessly, checking up that I am not overdoing it and taking it easy.

Since the news in May of the dreaded cancer it has put a bit of a damper on things, but I am determined to not let it spoil anything for me, Ishbel or the kids.  Mindful that the outcome is probably inevitable and it surely must be as I made one phone call to the insurance company, they sent a one page questionnaire and then paid out within a couple of weeks with no further contact, so that was helpful and stress free and I hope that anyone else in my position is treated with the same stress free helpfulness as I was,  so well done and a big thank you to Legal and General for that.  The thing is, and much to the annoyance of loved ones to begin with,  I have been more than a little blasé about the news, primarily I suppose since joining the Army in 1971 I had come close to death on any number of occasions: having been shot, crippled in a parachuting accident that nearly killed me, trapped down a pot hole after a storm started and it began to flood, trapped on my own in the middle of a riot while serving in Northern Ireland, canoe sinking on me twice, once in the middle of the English Channel and then in the middle of the not so Blue Danube, Rock climbing and abseiling incidents, couple of 3 ton military truck crashes, entering a clearing in Kenya and being confronted with an angry herd, is that the correct collective name, of Baboons and the list goes on. So, as you can see it has been a long time coming and while the greatest fear for me since leaving the Army was being confronted by a keeky nappy, heysus, I can face down death but put an eeky baby bum in front of me and I just want to run and hide as it always made me gag.... but it had to be done, sheesh.  So the threat of my impending doom from cancer was just another one of those moments.

I wont say that I haven't shed a tear since the news, but they have always been in those special moments we have with our children and our grandchildren or when suddenly a thought pops into my mind about something one of those wonderful five grand kids had said to me recently or remembering something that they had done which made me laugh or smile and there are plenty of those moments, and I suddenly think, hell I'm not going to be about for long to see them grow up and turn into the wonderful caring human beings that I know that they are going to turn out to be, and I do choke up a little and have a bit of a blub, but it soon passes and I am back to being stone heart again accepting the inevitable.  Apparently I probably have less than a year but do you know what I think that is the worse case scenario.

I went on the chemo and felt fine during the first three weeks.  Started the second three week session and felt suicidal so they took me off it.  Once it was out of my system a couple of weeks later I was back to feeling great again. And that's how it has been since July.  There has been the odd week when I thought the damned thing was going to do a John Hurt (from the original and best Alien movie,)on me and burst from my chest shouting 'Baby, I'm home'

Having said that, generally I feel great and I know that I am going to be around for a while yet and with what I hope is my own positive outlook and that of my family and friends I reckon that I will be around to write another year end review at the end of 2014.

Bobby, Jim and John my brothers are all keeping in contact although I seem to have lost Bobs number, tit that I am.  Marylin Shepherd Warner keeps a candle burning for me in the Cathedral of the Plains and +Julia Barrett +Michael Hicks @ian_beckett +Brian Meeks @Julianstockwin from twitter and google all keep me on my toes with their support and friendship as do many many others who keep giving me unstinting support, love and friendship and even although I have largely scaled back my social media interaction you should know that I love you all and appreciate every kind thought and word and not so kind one from Hicks, but I suspect he knows that I know that one of these days Ishbel are gonna turn up on the doorstep and I'm going to take over the kitchen and force feed him whether he likes it or not in Florida and to Jules and Oscar too in Napa ..... one of these days

Have a great New Year my Friends and I'll see you all in 2014 

And finally thanks to my girls Marie and Jennifer and to Brian and Steve and Peter and especially to Ishbel for their love and support and to Jennifer for constantly reminding me to 'stop milking it'


Monday, 9 December 2013

Book Review: A LUMBERJACKY CHRISTMAS by Penny Watson

As you may or may not have surmised my interaction in other folks wonderful blogs has been fairly
Penny Watson (c) PennyWatson 
minimal of late, for reasons you are all probably aware of and so, I have just been dipping in and out and sometimes I miss things, like this beautiful little FREEEEEEEEE TO DOWNLOAD vignette of a story from the delightfully Tiara Adorned, Cocktail Loving. Lumberjacky Aficionado PENNY WATSON over on her blog Penny Romance.

Cabin in the woods (c) PennyWatson
Hannah Watson decides to take a sabbatical at Christmas away from her family and friends in deepest snowy Vermont to complete a project she is under pressure to get handed in on January First.     Deciding to go snowshoeing for the first time ever she gets stuck as the weather closes in and thinks she has broken her ankle, cold wet, alone and feeling completely miserable on Christmas Eve.   Rescue is at hand in the form of  bearded Lumberjack hunk, David Green who,  after loading up his chopped wood for his cabin,  is about to drive away when he spots Hannah and comes to her rescue.

As it turns out David is a famous children's author with writers block and coincidentally Hannah is an illustrator for children's books, awe isn't that lovely.....

Well as it happens, yes it was.  Just 17 pages on a word document of smart, easy reading with a dialogue as crisp as the snow falling outside the cabin.  A little schmaltzy but not out of place at all in this story where the two with similar problems, find each other and collaborate to bring each other out of their predicaments, I found it totally sweet, engaging and romantic and for a short Christmassy story, totally loved it

You can download your very own FREE COPY  of this delightful little tale over on Penny's blog HERE

5 out of 5 stars from me

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Can you do anything, if you try hard enough?

Ah, but there is always the exception to the rule that you can do anything Marylin My Sweet....... it's me off course.

That was my opening response to another wonderful letter from Marylin Shepherd Warner on her weekly letter to her Mom who has dementia and Marylin's letters are her way of recording the many wonderful things that her Mom taught her growing up and that she herself has passed on to her own children and grandchildren.  you can read her latest letter here:

Things I Want to Tell My Mother

I then went on to explain, that for some of us, learning, a particular skill set is; really beyond our ken ........

(c) www.millsycartoons.co.uk
Another example of that was Friday. For the first time ever Ishbel and I decided that we would put some Christmas lights out in the garden so I asked my electrical contractor at work to put a socket out there.  He did. Proper double sockets with safety cut out switches and in an all weather box, just the job.  I duly plugged the lights in closed the lid and broke it .... Now don't think he put in a cheap box, no, not at all, best on the market.  It is just that I am so cack handed at anything DIY that in almost 38 years Ishbel has learned not to get me to do anything as I am so useless at it.

Hanging paper, not a chance. Did it once when Ishbel was out. she came in walked in to the kitchen and said, 'very nice dear, but do you know what would have been better, if you'd managed to hang all the strips running in the same direction!' Oops, and of course as it usually tuns out too, I always seem to get the paste mixture wrong and you will be sitting there one day in the not to distant future when a strip or two will start to peel in a corner and then gravity kicks in and it rolls down the wall.... Eyes are raised, and I just shrug 'what did you expect'.

Same with rawl plugs in walls, I can never seem to match the hole to the plug or the screw for that matter and whatever I hang normally falls off quite soon after been hung. If visiting, check to see who hung what above the chair you choose before sitting, it may be a life saver ......

(c) www.millsycartoons.co.uk
Taking the oven door off to clean it properly. I had watched the engineer do this recently as he took it off to carry out a repair.  Easy peasy. Lift the catch on both hinges. grab the handle pull out and up in one fluid motion and off it comes, what could be easier. To put back on, line up the hinges slide in and gently push down.  hah.... £89 call out charge to replace one bent and useless hinge is what happened next ...... I could go on and there are plenty of these stories but even the grand kids cover their eyes in fear of what is going to happen if they see me with as much as a screw driver in my hand let alone a power tool

Mind you I could jump out of airplanes, shoot almost any weapon on the planet in my day, blow up things, pot hole, canoe, sail, map read, but then again I was shot, stabbed, crippled almost drowned in the English Channel and on the Danube and down a flooding pot hole system, had a touch of hypothermia, been in a couple of crashes (not involving other vehicles) Rock climb, abseil, you name it I've probably done it, I even managed to sew buttons on my uniforms in the army and darn a sock or two in my time but nothing more basic than that

So, pretty useless, BUT I am a survivor and that's my overriding goal at the moment, to survive so that I can keep annoying Ishbel, the Kids and the Grandkids for years to come and to keep reading your wonderful and inspiring weekly letter to your beautifully gifted and talented mother ......

oops.... Just been reminded about two crashes involving vehicles, one into the back of a UPS truck and one when Ishbel was in the car too and was pretty shaken up but no physical damage. memory problems too you see