Both of my children probably dislike me today although they would probably deny it if asked.
Alex was in Egypt last week, scuba diving in Taba in Sinai on the Egyptian / Israeli border, staying in the Hyatt Regency. Unfortunately his bank decided that his 'unusual activity' wasn't allowed and when he dared to use his card to withdraw money there they decided that because he hadn't phoned to ask permission to go abroad they would block it. He couldn't access his online banking, had no idea how much was in his account after paying for extra diving (courtesy of an online transfer of my spending money for Ireland to his account to pay for advanced dives - when would he ever get the chance again?) and his phone bill was due. I had to go into town to collect Georgie's coat from the dry cleaners (she pinched cheese from the hotel breakfast buffet, put it in her pocket and forgot about it until it had melted and she put her hand into her pocket to find a stinky squidgy mess) so thought I would call in at the bank to see if I could do anything. They said I had to phone. After a total of three hours on the phone to the bank they managed to unlock his account in time for his phone payment to go through and thus prevent him from being cut off.
I then got a phone call on Thursday evening from him, he was leaving for an Army exercise in deepest Wales the next morning. After the usual 'how are you?' introductions I waited for the request (there is always a request). It came. Did I have time to go to the post office to send something special delivery? Thinking he had left something important at home I calculated that no, I didn't have time and said so. No it's nothing from home, can I buy him some fingerless gloves and some Fruit Pastilles and post them SD? Apparently it's freezing cold and the numerous pairs of gloves I have already bought are no good for firing guns. He obviously realised by my tone of voice when I asked how much they were that it was not a good idea asking for anything after the money he had last weekend. Then he thought it quite reasonable for me to buy a packet of Fruit Pastilles and pay £4 odd to send them SD to make sure he got them before they left for Wales! I suggested he looked through his pockets and drawers for loose change and buy some from the school shop. Of course I had to slip in a lecture about leaving things until the last minute - I can't think where he gets it from.....
Georgina has had her favourite clothes confiscated until her room is tidy. Riding lessons are cancelled, no lap top or tv until it is done. I have also threatened to give her budgies away unless she checks them daily and cleans them once a week. She cried. I felt awful. Then I looked into her room and felt justified. She is so untidy - I can't think where she gets if from........
I was talking to a close friend recently about the feelings we have for our children. I said it's like having a piece of your heart walking around outside of you. We agreed. I love them so much but sometimes I could throttle the pair of them. I wonder if they feel like throttling me?
After all of that I was feeling quite fed up, a weekend of nagging and tidying to come after a day of dealing with people over the phone. I was dying to escape for some geocaching in the sunshine but that would have to wait. Then a short unexpected email from a friend cheered me up. Just a few lines to let me know that my day wasn't totally crap. I hummed a tune.
I bought a book to take to Ireland and left it at home. I was vexed. I had been keeping it and looking forward to having it with me to read while Georgina was asleep each night. Luckily I had downloaded a couple of films to watch on my laptop so all was not lost.
I made the mistake of picking it up when I came back and as usual with a good book I couldn't put it down again. I snatched it up every time I had minutes to spare and the minutes grew to hours while the housework remained unfinished.
It's about a wifey and her family moving from London (a place she loves) and following her husband North, to Bamburgh (or very close by judging from the descriptions) I was jealous, I came the opposite direction. I will always miss the people, the beaches, the castles and the empty spaces no matter how long I live here. However, I do not miss the weather.
I love watches and have several at home, from cheap Swatches to a gold Omega DeVille, in need of a service and a new battery (starting at £150)
I have been saving my Tesco Clubcard vouchers for the last three quarters, We used them last year for an annual membership to English Heritage and Eurotunnel crossings, a trip to Dickens World and a meal at Cafe Rouge.
This time I changed them for Goldsmiths vouchers and bought myself a new Seiko watch. It has a palest pink mother of pearl face with tiny diamonds for the hour markers. I tried on quite a few and thought I would have difficulty choosing after looking at them on the website last week but I quickly made my choice and I love it.
I wonder how much dreaded Tesco shopping I would have to do for a new Omega?
The flight to Crafteire was Aer Lingus this year, a definite improvement on Ryanair, no baggage weight to worry about, seats that actually reclined, no staff trying to peddle lottery tickets and no 10 mile walk to the departure gate at Gatwick. Which was quite a good job, seeing as Kate went to buy lipstick and ended up staying for a makeover. I was stopped in the cosmetics counter by a young woman who asked if I would like to buy some magic cream to hide my red cheeks and broken veins. (I didn't even know I had any of those, I do not like to look too closely into the bathroom mirror - it's scary) I do not, have never, will never wear make up. I don't like the feeling of it clagged on my face and am quite attached to my rosy complexion. I always thought it showed an interesting, outdoors country life. Obviously there are lumps and bumps I would prefer to get rid of, likewise the shadows under my eyes. I would like to laugh and still see what I am laughing at instead of my cheeks scrunching up over my eyes but after 47 years of that happening I am quite used to it now.
So we arrived in Dublin, Kate and her Mum gave us a lift to the hotel in Tullamore while I slept most of the way, having had 3 or 4 hours sleep the night before. I would have slept all of the way had it not been for my daughter's constant chatter, to say she was exited would be an understatement. She talked from the moment we left the house until she went to bed and drove me nuts (bless her little cotton socks). Her highlight of the day was a soak in the Jacuzzi bath in our ensuite.
I don't sleep well and tend to toss and turn, while Georgina's bed was barely any different to when she climbed in, mine was a bit of a wreck. The poor cleaners had to remake it from scratch every morning and replace the hundred pillows and cushions while they probably just put the cover straight on Georgina's.
My classes went very well, I was so pleased that I had spent time learning how to make each mechanism without needing instructions, it made it a lot easier when anything went wrong, I could see straight away why and how to fix it. I stupidly left my camera in my room and forgot to take photographs. It was lovely to meet up with friends again, Georgina was no bother at all and we got to swim a couple of times, sporting the rather glamorous hotel swimming caps which were compulsory in the pool.
The food there, in fact everything there was very expensive. It was last year but this year it was almost €1 for each £1 and I kept forgetting. We ate out several times while I longed for some home cooking and porridge and rapidly ran out of the cash I had with me.
We called at Avoca on the way back to the airport and I very nearly bought a new beach bag which I didn't need and was far too expensive. I managed to resist buying anything until we came to the bakery counter. Remembering the lunch we had in the Dublin centre shop last year I decided to buy some goodies to take home. Swept away by the stunning display it didn't register that there were no prices, I went on to order some fruit tarts, a couple of sausage rolls for lunch, a three foot wide strawberry meringue for Georgina, a couple of banoffee tarts with cream as high as Carrantuohill and four pieces of the wicked crispy cake made from a million mars bars with thick chocolate. The girl told me the total, I handed over a €50 note and then as she gave me my receipt and change I wobbled. Barely €7 change in my hand and two small bags to show for it. Too embarrassed to take them back and demand a refund I felt sick before I even started on the mountain of cream. Do they fix the prices by charging for calorific value?
We arrived at the airport where we shopped for gifts (a snip compared to Avoca) and then dutifully followed Kate to the departure lounge, a twenty minute walk carrying hand luggage, gifts and the expensive cakes. We ate the sausage rolls, (yummy) and then realised that the banoffee pie was actually an inch of biscuit base that weighed half of my baggage allowance, 6" of cream and only 3 pieces of banana with 1mm of toffee in the middle. What a swizz. I scraped off the cream which had gone quite warm and probably full of food poisoning bacteria by then and ate the measly banana filling (I don't like the biscuit base).
Kate took some photos, determined that we should at least get our money's worth in future layouts.
With only 10 minutes to go before boarding, Kate realised that there was no activity where we were sitting, checked the departure board and realised we were two miles in the opposite direction from the departure gate we were supposed to be in. During the gallop to the right place I thanked my lucky stars on several occasions that I had not attempted that mountain of cream!
We caught the plane back with minutes to spare and without squashing the tarts. I got them back home safely and looked forward to the treat for supper. They were so bad we couldn't finish one between us, maybe they would have fared better being eaten straight from the fridge. The crispy cakes were a hit though, Georgina had half each day in her school lunch box.
I leave for Crafteire today, four nights of luxury at the Tullamore Court and meeting up with friends for a great weekend. I'm teaching two classes, hopefully fitting in a visit to Avoca, one of my favourite shops and maybe some geocaching while we are there. As usual I haven't packed in advance, it's 1.30am and I am still packing my craft kit, I think somebody will be sleeping during the flight.
I went up to the NEC on Sunday morning to look around the the craft trade show there, it was great to meet up with so many friends, I was surprised how many people I knew there. I loved the new K&Co lines and was very impressed with the range of Sizzix dies, their new packaging is gorgeous and made me want one of everything. I saw quite a few ranges of paper that I liked but one I really wouldn't buy is the buff coloured Fancy Pants 'Kraft Kuts' release, I though it was dull and horrible colours.
After the show I went out for a drink in a pub and then on for a gorgeous Chinese meal at one of my favourite restaurants. I can't remember the last time I went into a proper pub, I don't drink at all and tend to socialise with friends during the daytime. Although I don't like the taste of alcohol, I loved walking into the beery smell and hearing the murmer of conversation. The bar was full of horse racing memorabilia which reminded me of a pub back up in a village close to Durham, a regular haunt in my younger days.
I stayed close to Warwick on Sunday night and having only visited the town very briefly on one occasion years ago I was keen to look around the castle. It was a beautiful morning, warm sunshine burning away the mist and I thoroughly enjoyed walking around the grounds. I saw most of the castle but bottled out of the walk around the ramparts as it was a one way system and although I don't mind walking up spiral stairs I hate coming back down, I felt sick just walking up the first few steps and had to come back out - what a wimp.
I took some photographs to treasure, camera still on automatic because my best friend, the photography expert, refuses to take me out on a day for tuition until I read my camera manual. These are some of my favourites.
The tower on the left is the one I was too scared to go up
I love the light cast on the stone wall from the stained glass
I loved this old bridge, it must have seen hundreds of years of history.
So now I'm back home, Alex is in Egypt, I'm taking Georgina to the cinema with her cousin and then I have lots of work to finish before I leave for Tullamore on Thursday.
I've been working on an interative layout for a couple of days now and it's taken a couple of tantrums to get it finished. There are three interactive flaps which didn't leave a lot of room for embellishments and page accents. Quite a few parts were challenging and as my friends know, I am not over endowed with patience as a virtue. Still it's finished in time for deadline, I haven't snapped at anyone and I'm looking forward to supper and a DVD to relax.
It's all go for the next few days, Alex is home from school tomorrow and flies to Egypt on Monday, I'm off to the NEC on Sunday while Steve is tour guide for a friend from the USA for the weekend. Georgina is sleeping over with friends. It's my sister's birthday on Saturday and I still haven't get her anything (sorry Gill - you know I am always late). After the weekend it's time to put the finishing touches on my classes for Crafteire, we fly to Dublin on Thursday for a long weekend.
Georgie and I went for a girlie night out at the cinema on Friday, we were going to go for pizza first but I don't particularly like it and there was a huge queue waiting for tables. We did want to see Benjamin Button but we're going to wait for Alex to come home so that we can see it together if he has time. He is off to Egypt for his school trip next week, they are scuba diving for a week in a five start resort - a bit upmarket compared to my school trips to Hadrians Wall and Whitley Bay!
It was Georgina's turn to choose and she decided on The Secret of Moonacre.
The film was quite good but not really any eye candy for me, at least the Golden Compass had glimpses of Daniel Craig to keep me awake.
I did like the girl's bedroom, I would love one the same
One scene did wow me at the end of the film, there is a huge tidal wave and at the peak of the wave the surf turns into white horses galloping through the spray with a unicorn in the midst of them, it was gorgeous.
I sat up on Sunday night and watched The Bridges of Madison County for the hundredth time. I can't resist watching it on TV even though I have the DVD and could have recorded it on Sky+ to watch at a more sensible hour. Other films I have to watch when they are on are Pretty Woman, A Knights Tale and Message in a Bottle.
Madison County stars Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, they are both excellent in the film, some of the scenes are amazing. I always want her to go after him at the end of the film and usually sob while I watch it but she never does. I didn't cry this time though, maybe I have seen it one too many times. This is the scene, I always hope that the handle will come back just a touch more and open the door or that hubby doesn't toot his horn. But no, she just sits and watches as the love of her life drives away and she goes back to beating carpets in Iowa instead of travelling the world. Well he probably wouldn't want her in those dungarees anyway!
Issue 50 is out today, congratulations to the team at Future on their half century.
One of my pages in this issue is from 2002, we had to choose one of our favourite layouts, although no my most favourite this is certainly one of them, photos were back in the days of film camera and waiting for processing at Boots, it used to cost me a fortune. The sunset was gorgeous and cast an orange glow over the beach. It was actually a double page layout, I used to scrap almost all doubles in those days but I didn't photograph the second page, I'll have to dig it out from my albums.
It was also my turn to do the sketch, I used a few photos of Alex and his friends at school.
I'm busy trying to get assignments finished this weekend, I'm going away next weekend and then Ireland the one after so it's all got to be done before I go.
I've been sitting on this layout for what seems ages, I finished it last autumn but it's been waiting for publication in issue 50 of Scrapbook Inspirations which is out to subscribers today. It's the first pop up I have worked out from scratch by myself and it took ages to get it right. I have made quite a few in the past but Karen has always been the engineer when it came to the templates for the mechanisms. I have learned so much from her designs that when it came to drawing templates and attaching my tags to the layout I knew how it should work when it was finished - getting there myself took the best part of two days! Karen is a civil engineer by trade, I only wish she lived closer instead of Colorado, I could have done with her help putting this one together! There will be templates on theScrapbook Inspirations blog to download later today. I just hope they work!
So this is the layout, the flap lifts to reveal a pop up party hat underneath with extra photographs displayed around each tag section, inside and out. The shape of the tags could be easily altered to suit a different theme, maybe a fort or castle shape. I did think of cutting each one into a carousel but I think I will wait for somebody to come up with a template for that (Karen?)
There's a video here to show the interactive flap but when I filmed with my pocket camera I was sitting on a wood table which made a very rude sounding creak as I moved so I had to add some corny music courtesy of YouTube! It's a bit wonky, I had to hold the camera in one hand as I moved the layout but you get the idea. The 'party hat' is great for displaying all of those extra parade photographs.