Archive for December, 2011

Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to. Bill Vaughn

Thankfully I am now of the age where I can take it one way or the other.
So I had planned to go into London to the Eye to see in the New Year, but…….I am not inclined to stand in the wet and cold any more so I have decided to do the sensible (old) thing and watch it on telly, then I can go straight to bed after instead of a 2 hour journey to get home.  But for that, I would be there…..

big ben and the new year fireworks

fireworks at Big Ben & the London Eye

And so before the year is out…I have decided to put finger to keyboard and write a blog which I haven’t done since the beginning of the month.

The last few months have been quite weird and certainly eventful. I finally quit my job as a carer in August and got an office job only to resign within 2.5 months…..although I am still working there. They asked me to reconsider and stay on. The boss is a pratt and thinks that intimidation is the way to motivate me! Hurrumph…think again mate. So I guess we shall have to wait and see what transpires in the new year.

I have, as many of you know, moved in with my daughter and we are now sharing a lovely house in Twickenham….5 minutes walk to the river

twickenham bridge & the river thames

view from Twickenham Bridge of the river Thames...I love this view

and 20 minutes to Sweetie Pies Bakery.

sweetie pies boutique bakery twickenham

xmas cupcakes at Sweetie Pies Boutique Bakery in Twickenham

I walk to Richmond station in the mornings and have hundreds of photos of the same scene; of the river and boats from the bridge and riverbank and yet surprisingly it is different every day! I also get to walk through the grounds and past what remains of Richmond Palace. Quite awesome really.

richmond palace

Richmond Palace

It’s lovely to have a home again and it was wonderful to celebrate Xmas with our own tree and all the trimmings.  Xmas morning was brilliant fun and we both had lots of pressies to open then a walk to Richmond Park and a full xmas dinner in the evening…except I forgot the Yorkshire puds!!!

our enormous xmas tree & lots of pressies

2011 has been a year of development and remonstration, of regret and realisation. I guess you could say I have ‘grown’ in some ways. In fact it’s been quite a stressful year in many ways and I have had to face some long suppressed truths and acknowledge a fair number of disappointments. I have been unpacking my boxes, now out of storage and it has been quite upsetting and yet cathartic…I have thrown out a lot of garbage (metaphorically & actually speaking) 10 boxes of clothes and stuff I have accumulated as well as tons of the personal development paperwork from 2007/2008!   I also opened a bottle of 2004 Nuy Muscadel that is now matured and quite sublime…I have a glass to hand as I write 🙂

I have had some fantastic new experiences; a Thames cruise to Hampton Court, an afternoon of Spy Games up in Buckinghamshire where I got to do some target shooting (awesome), went to see Roxette in live concert!! brilliant and an invitation to the Guildhall for the 600th anniversary celebrations,

guildhall london

invitation to the Guildhall London

a drumming lesson arranged for me by my beloved daughter as one of my xmas presents. So cool. I have wanted to learn to play the drums for ever and a day and now I have had my 1st lesson. We are going to arrange for more lessons in April.

learning the drums - my 2011 xmas present 🙂

In the family we have had 1 wedding, welcomed 4 new children into the family, Cémanthe’s brother & his wife had a new baby, my brother & his wife adopted 2 kiddies and gave birth to one of their own!!  We visited South Africa in June for a catch up with family and said a sad goodbye to a dearly beloved grandfather.

Cémanthe and her paternal grandparents...sadly Alan is no longer with us.

There have been ups and downs this year as well as some revelations. I have slept on The Mall to watch our future King marry, been to most of my favourite places and events in the city and discovered many more. I have written a book, now published on kindle, developed on-line fatigue, conducted my first tour of London, made new friends, and sadly lost contact with some too.   I have supported my daughter through a debilitating divorce and celebrated the growth of her company crowned by a Women in Business Award nomination and was invited to the opening of an art exhibition in my capacity as a ‘Blogger of Influence’…..

hatfield house henry moore

me at Hatfield House for the Henry Moore art exhibition (I'm the one in the purple jumper!)

2012 holds the promise of new adventures, new avenues to explore and new encounters. I hope to renew some others and definitely want to start travelling again. My dream of a campervan to travel around the UK and then the world still holds strong and if I work hard enough it may just transpire (2 of my gifts from Cémanthe were campervan related).

We here in London/UK have the Queen’s Jubilee to look forward to – which promises to be unbelievably amazing

the queens diamond jubilee 2012

visual representation of what the Royal Barge will look like for the Queen's Jubilee

as well as the Olympics…can’t wait.

2012 london olympics

just over 1 year to go - London 2012 Olympics

We have tickets to 2 of the events and even though it’s not the opening or closing ceremony…there are plenty of vantage points in London where we will be able to see the fireworks. Just to be here is amazing enough for me anyhow.

So in conclusion, I wish you all a wonderful 2012 and may you have 365 exciting days ahead!

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an invitation to the Guildhall

whoo hoo!!! I was lucky enough to secure an invitation to attend a lecture at the Guildhall in City of London for a lecture by Dr Simon Thurley and the launch of the book: ‘London 1000 years: treasures from the collections of the City of London’, in celebration of the 600th Anniversary of Guildhall.    Imagine!!! 600 years of history!  The building encompasses parts of the original building that date back another 200 years, years both calm and turbulent.

Guildhall is a fascinating building and the oldest secular building in the city, it has survived fire and 2 world wars, albeit not unscathed.  The facade of the building is beautiful and as you walk into Guildhall Yard  the ornate exterior gives you a taste of what lies within.  The area is redolent with history and the Lord Mayor’s Show starts from here where the Lord Mayor swears allegiance to the city in a ceremony that dates back to 1189 with the first Lord Mayor Henry Fitz Ailwin.

the first Lord Mayor of London - Henry Fitz Ailwen

Needless to say, heading off into the City after work was a thrill and I was agog with anticipation wishing the day away.  An invitation to the Guildhall!!!! never in my life.  The interior of the building is so gorgeous and filled to the brim with statues and memorials and relics of the past and I never tire of visiting.  The courtyard is enclosed by more modern buildings, an ancient church St Lawrence Jewry

St Lawrence Jewry

and other ancient buildings and the piece de resistance is what lies beneath!!! A Roman Amphitheatre discovered some years ago.

As part of the launch for the book (which I bought needless to say!) they displayed some of the amazing treasures that are housed in the Guildhall.  One of which was the original London Magna Carta dates from 1297 and Edward I.   Awesome to stand in front of that document that is hundreds of years old.  There was a letter from John Keats to Fanny Brawne as well as other amazing documents and poignant letters.

It felt kinda weird sitting amongst the Aldermen of the City and to be no more than 20 feet away from the Lord Mayor.  I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and of course loved the lecture which was filled with history.  After the canapes

food from the 15th century - freshly made 🙂

I went walkabout through the city to Bank Station and just enjoyed the quiet streets and the sights of the buildings lit up like beacons in the dark.

Royal Exchange

London is such a beautiful city.

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If ever you want to have a good laugh and fun times, visit the W.I.   Do not think for one second that coz the ladies have reach the silver surfer level that they are any less naughty or rambunctious than a class of 5 years-olds.

Last night at the WI was Secret Santa night and the room was atwitter with excitement.  The tables were decked out with red cloths, shiny tinsel xmas trees, gold crackers and xmas cards for each person. As you walked through the door a table laden with bottles of sherry and glasses awaited, at the back a trestle table groaned under the weight of platters of quiche, sausage rolls, cocktail sausages, crisps and treats, and in the corner, tempting but aloof a massive christmas cake…..mmmmmm!

The room buzzed with chatter and laughter.  On the right, a raffle table with 6 delightful prizes tempted punters to buy strips of tickets.  On the left a table laden with home-wares for sale, knitted hats and scarves, peg bags, table cloths, home-made marmalade, raspberry jam, blackberry jam, books and knick-naks.  Tempting.

In time the President called the room to order and like a class of kids, some settled and listened and other carried on as if she was invisible.  Talking above the chatter she bravely raised her voice till the goodie two-shoes’ in the room hisssed for quiet!! 🙂  The meeting had begun.  I have been to a few WI meetings, the first in a wee village in Pakenham in Suffolk some years ago.  Thank you’s, and future dates, messages and announcements and the schedule for evening.

Sherry made the rounds and soon the room descended into disorder once again.  Crackers were cracked, food was devoured while tea mixed with sherry to warm the cockles!  Games to play; first up a quiz – which we won 🙂 heehee, then chairs in a circle for pass the parcel – hysteria reigned supreme.  Thankfully we stopped short of musical chairs….that would have been wild!

Next up….. Secret Santa.  The excitement mounted as the numbers were called and like little kids, the ladies dithered as they tried to choose the most intriguing parcel…..what would they find inside?  Wrapping paper flew asunder as gasps and laughter filled the air.  The tension mounted as perhaps your number didnt come up and the pile started to shrink!   Then with a whoop and a cheer…….hooray!  I’m next!

So even though we didn’t get to sing  ‘Jerusalem’ or pose for a calendar, we did have lots of fun, a good laugh, made plans for future outings, enjoyed companionship, interesting speakers, and a jolly good old knees up Mother Brown…. time to join the W.I.

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