Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

The boy is born!  Hallelujah!

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.

The dinner is in the oven, the presents are unwrapped and being investigated, the girls are watching a film, and we are all together, at home, with a warm fire and plenty of food - how very blessed we are!

See you in 2017......

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Advent

Here I sit, with twinkling lights decorating the windowsill, folk going past in the their cars taking the kids to school, the news on the tv in the background and thinking about getting ready to go off to work in under an hour. I realised last night that I haven't been here for about six weeks, and I was overdue for a catch-up.  If you are still reading, even with my long absences, I thank you.

Gratitude has long been part of my life now and I started an Advent theme on my Facebook posts with that idea at its heart. Each day I am posting a few words about things for which I am grateful that day. In all the hustle and busy-ness of getting ready for Christmas, I wanted to stop and be content with what I have now, rather than always looking forward to what will come in the future.  Anticipation is good, but so is contentment in the now.

Angels have been a huge part of my life in the last month - we have "Angels and anticipation" as our Advent theme for church and circuit life this year, so we have had Angel festivals, angel plays, angel Messy Churches - I am just about done with angels for one year, and we are joking that our theme next year will be "Silent Night" so that we can be quiet and reflective instead.

Only five more sleeps and then the EFG will be home from Aberdeen for Christmas. She has another exam tomorrow and then some socialising before she comes home on Saturday - can't wait!  Really looking forward to having her here for three weeks.

I hope you are all keeping well, and life continues peacefully.  I shall get round to reading more blogs sometime soon, but not this week!  Someone jokingly said that I would get a rest soon, but I can't see one coming until after Christmas lunch - but I shall be ready for it by then.  There are troubles in the circuit and lots of work to be done even in the New Year so we need to have a break and recharge our batteries over the Christmas holiday.  The boss is taking the workers to Norwich to see Mamma Mia in February so we are looking forward to that immensely as our staff day out!

Much love, as always x

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

A good day for a catch up

All Saints' Day was the patronal festival of the church in which I grew up, so it does mean something to me for that reason, if no other. It's hard to sort all these saints out, and sometimes easier just to think of them all!

This past month has been a challenging one.......the YFG has been to Aberdeen to have a look at the geography department, and loved the uni, but thought it would only be ideal if it were closer to home. It's on her list, but UEA at Norwich is looking as if it might be the favourite.  She went there for a Geography Summer School in July and got on really well, so hopefully she might score a place there.

The EFG came home for the weekend and just went back yesterday - we had lunch with Grandypops whilst she was here, and we generally had a good weekend together.  She's doing well, and has to keep her nose to the grindstone for another 7 weeks now until the Christmas break.

The FH's best mate died at the end of the week before last, and we have his funeral this week.  He was an amazing old gentleman, who lived almost 86 years but his last days were spent at home, as he wanted, in the busy household with his daughter and her family. I have had the privilege of supporting them through this time, and taking the funeral.  He and the FH went on all sorts of adventures together, and we are sure that they are together again now.

The FH's son has been and FINALLY taken the FH's old banger of a car away!  That feels like a major achievement in life, and the old car is no longer cluttering up the gravel driveway at the back of the house. Next step is to get a skip in and clear out some more rubbish.......whether he will ever clear out the tools and machinery that the FH left him from the workshop is another matter...

Financially, as we approach the end of the year, I am relieved to see from the charts that we are just over £2000 up in addition to the new-to-us car which I bought in March, so doing very well at saving again this year.  Frugality has its moments, and we are looking ahead to the time next August when the bereaved parents' allowance, the child benefit and the tax credits all end as the YFG will turn 18, and making sure that everything is doable within the income that we will have left, so we are saving as much as we can now, not only as a cushion for then, but also to prove to ourselves that we can live on less.  The YFG will have much less than the EFG in terms of income, as Aberdeen has a very generous financial package for low-income English families, which the YFG will not get elsewhere.

Keeping our priorities in order is a significant part of that - the post has just arrived with a £22 text book which the YFG needs, so that has been put in her room, but the Boden catalogue which arrived at the same time has gone straight in the bin.

We have also reclaimed the dining room as a usable room in the house - the girls are thrilled and I am looking forward to Christmas lunch in there this year.

I hope that you are all well - I do have a nosey around your blogs occasionally when I sit down for a cuppa.  Toodle pip for now though x




Thursday, 13 October 2016

Another day

The blog roll hasn't reappeared yet, so if anyone does know how to get it back, I would be very pleased to hear from you.......

In other news, the EFG has sacked one driving instructor in Aberdeen who was incredibly rude and unhelpful, but has found another, who comes highly recommended.  Good sign - he also has a waiting list, but she got onto that before she sacked the woman she is leaving.  She had had to pay the woman for a block booking in advance, so she has lost about £10 for the last little bit of time she has not claimed, but she is not worried about that - far better to be clear of such a negative personality, she feels.

Continuing with the roads, the YFG has passed her theory test in the last couple of hours and is on her way home from the library where she took the test, and we will shortly be off to see my dad.

He's had a health scare and is a bit fragile. It was his 87th birthday on Monday, so we suddenly became conscious that we hadn't seen him since the EFG was at home, and thought it was time we made the short journey across the Fens to see him - but then quite by chance, the YFG's driving instructor took her to his town yesterday on quite a route. Unfortunately, they did not stop in to see him but he would have been thrilled to have seen her behind the wheel!

Work? Manic. Too many hours last week......  Love it though, and the people!

Toodle pip - see you again soon xx

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Where have you all gone?

You were there the day before yesterday, but I popped in here tonight to say something and now I am too worried about where the blogroll has disappeared to to post about what I was going to say!  All my favourite blogs were there, easily accessible for me [and you] to dip in and out of - and now they are gone!  

If anyone knows what is going on, do share!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Phew!

It seems that life is just keeping me away from blogging at the moment. I have really appreciated the support that this blogging community has given to me over the last few years, and whilst I am not closing this blog down, I am coming to the conclusion that aiming to post regularly is just not going to happen.

Each day is split into three sections and I am only supposed to work two of them each day, but at the moment, that's rare. It's not killing me, though, because when I have a late night out at a meeting, I tend to have a morning the next day when I can have a later start. There are days when I am out and about all day, but others where I maybe just have to pop somewhere for an hour, or I can just work at home on paperwork for most of the day. It does balance out in the end, but what with the house, spending time with the YFG and on the phone with the EFG, visiting my dad occasionally and just attempting to keep up with friends, I'm not spending time on blogs now.  Have to say that I do miss your news, though.

I have launched a new choir in one of our town churches, and we are meeting each week - we kicked off with nine members on the first night - and we were thrilled to be able to sing a Joseph song by the end of it - given that it is a choir to enable people who "can't" sing to benefit from the health aspects of singing, we were chuffed with ourselves!

Our bereavement support group in one of the other smaller churches is also working out very well as we have had a couple of new people coming along in the last couple of months. There are two sisters attending who have both been widowed in the last 18 months, and they have just had another blow in that their third sister has just died after a long struggle with cancer.  We are spending time in prayer for them all.

We are looking forward to seeing UJ today - it was his birthday yesterday and the YFG has made him a beautiful chocolate cake for tea today.  I am also going to be doing some baking for a local MacMillan coffee morning this Friday, so the mixer is busy this week - ginger cake has been requested.

The EFG has settled very well back into Aberdonian life - she loves the situation in the new flat. There are four of them in the flat, although there are five rooms, but one hasn't been let. One of the other girls never actually sleeps in the flat, so most of the time there is only the EFG and two others there - so quite relaxed and calm. They are having weekly Sunday or Monday meals together and she is getting on with the other girls very well: the two she is spending most time with are both doing primary education, but all of them have their own groups of friends and do not depend on one another for friendship, which is rather more healthy than the last flat group which was heavily dependent on one another - and made life uncomfortable when they fell out.

September has been as cost-effective as I could make it - but I had to go and buy some new boots yesterday: as I have said before, my winter boots are 11 [black pair] and at least 16 [brown] years old. The black pair sprung a leak and I had wet feet on Monday.....I wear black a lot of the time, so it was time to get some more. I went into Clarks and asked the lady for all the plain black boots they had in size 8 to try on - and she brought out three pairs. I bought two of them!  I thought that I had definitely had my money's worth out of the others, since the 11 year old pair cost me £50 and I have worn them so much!

I have kicked off the school governor year by announcing that this is my last year and that I WILL definitely be retiring at the end of the year - and we have further put plans in place to designate the next chair in January so that I can spend 6 months handing over to the new chair before I retire. I am thrilled with the school and the way it has moved forward and developed over my time as a governor, and it is time to let go and move on now.  It will be one less responsibility too!

Enough for this morning - need to go and get the day moving!


Friday, 2 September 2016

And we're off with the challenge!

We were severely limited with financial challenges when the EF girls were here last year, and so spending was at a level which we could sustain, but not a lot was saved, if you see what I mean. Now that the September 1st has arrived and I feel like a new beginning again - and it is the start of the school and Methodist Connexional years - so here we go again!

Why? Because we have a big bill coming in from March when the chimney was fixed, because the girls want to be insured to drive when they have had more lessons, because there is more work on the house that I want to do, including replacing a shower unit and some decorating, because we need to save up for some new carpets! I have to make a contribution for fuel to the cousin who is taking the EFG back to Aberdeen.  And I want to do all of those projects this year, before the income drops as I mentioned in the last post......

So for this month - we are doing back to back weekly spending challenges where we only buy what we absolutely need, and I reckon we can manage on about £25 a week for the two of us. That is for FOOD only. Hopefully we might spend a bit less.......we'll see. We kicked off yesterday with a no-spend day so we still have £25 in the pot for this week.