Saturday, 31 December 2016

Ring out the Old...Ring in the New...

(I think that's what Tennyson wrote!..hehe)
New Years Eve, a time to say farewells to 2016 and to prepare to welcome 2017 :) As you can imagine we here are very excited to welcome 2017, more so today because we received the missionary sons flight itinerary for his return home on Tuesday 7 February....that's in 38 days !!!! I can hardly believe it, it feels like forever since I hugged that boy of mine. We did have our Christmas Day Skype time with him, sadly our Skype connection was pretty terrible...if it had been last year I would have been heartbroken, but knowing that he would be home soon it didn't cause me too much grief...haha ...besides I got to see his handsome face ...soon I'll get to squish it! :) Did I say 38 days?!!! Eeeeaaaaakkk!!!! :)

We had a nice quiet family Christmas, everything seemed a bit quieter without Jake but especially without Dad. :(  I missed him sat in the corner chair snoozing, usually whilst still wearing his paper crown pulled out of a Christmas cracker :) There were no rousing calls of  "when are we eating , I'm fainting from starvation" ...Dads' usual catcall for mealtimes.  No one to tell us to ssshhh during the Queens speech.  And we had no one to eat the smelly, blue, mouldy cheese on the cheese board (it's still in the fridge getting smellier!) Dad loved his smelly mouldy cheeses :)  Lots of little 'misses' , but lots of smiles and happy memories too. Mum coped quite well, I think she's still in a little bit of a fog. We've managed to keep her fairly busy and occupied, once the holidays are over I think it might hit her more.

I didn't get much sewing completed this last week, just little bits here and there, but happily I did finally finish Jacobs tree decoration ....
It's even hung on the tree! :)  I hope it will serve as a happy reminder of Jakes Missionary  Christmas's in Spain  but also of how much it means to be together as a family, no matter how far apart, whether with us in body or spirit, our hearts are united as one in love. Because family is what matters most. And I'm so very very blessed with my family.
I wish all my family and friends a prosperous, peaceful and very happy New Years ...did I mention...38 days!!!.? :) :) :)
Hugs Wendy xx

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Happy Christmas Eve ...

I'm as ready as I'm ever going to be! :)  The tree is still up (its only been accidentally knocked down once so far this year!) The fairy lights are twinkling, the Turkey is in the fridge,hopefully defrosting!!! The sprouts and veggies are peeled and we are ready to snuggle up in our PJs watch a Christmassy film before tootling off to bed, ready to fall asleep before excitedly waking up to find out if  we were on Santa's Naughty or Nice list! :)  ...but more importantly we are  excited to be  skyping with Elder Jake tomorrow at 12:30 UK time ... we can't wait to see that handsome face! :)

On Christmas Eve we traditionally have always met together as a family (Hubby's side) Every year when Hubby's Mother was alive we would all meet together to talk and eat and just hang out. Its many years since hubby's Mum passed and the family has grown an awful lot. In the last few years we've all probably been a bit lax at getting together, young families with babies and distances to travel have been a challenge. But this year hubby felt impressed to nudge and poke and encourage everyone to try to meet again, partly to remember their Mum but also just to be together at Christmas :) We had a lot of bodies hanging out together ...I think there was 25 of us tonight talking and chatting and laughing. Hubby enjoyed having his brothers and sisters around and I'm pretty sure he was glad he'd been persistent in his urging's to get together ...and I am also certain everyone else enjoyed it too. Hopefully we can continue with our tradition in the years to come :)

Before we snuggle up for our Christmassy film I thought I'd share some of our Christmas decorating (only just completed yesterday before our get together today!!)
I am being pulled away from my little notebook now by Angel Mim....she is ready to settle down and do some serious snuggling :) Our film choice has been made, The Grinch, snuggle blankets are in place and we are ready to cuddle ....nothing better for a Christmas Eve ;) Wishing all our loved ones, family and friends a very Merry Christmas :)

hugs Wendy ...and my Angels! ;)

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Could I possibly embarrass myself more...?

Soooo today is the last day of school before the Christmas Holidays...I've had that mad manic feeling all day of needing to get anything and everything done and dusted ...Monday was spent cleaning and sorting the Southport flat ready for the removal van to collect all of Mums worldly possessions. Tuesday, all my plans were scuppered by my poor little Angel Mim :( Miriam has also had a hard couple of months ...her epilepsy has kicked up a double-double notch, she hasn't had a Tonic Clonic (Grand Mal) seizure for about 7 or 8 years and hasn't required medication because whilst she is epileptic she has been  seizure free. Sadly we've noticed an increase in her absence seizures and Myoclonic (Petit Mal) activity, resulting in a very bad T/C just the other week which put her in hospital :(   We are now awaiting further Neurological assessments and anticipate her being prescribed medication  ...its going to be a challenging few months ahead for our littlest Angel least thanks to the bigger Angel we are aware of the triggers and are forewarned and forearmed so to speak :( Back to Tuesday ...Mim was sent home from school after a particularly long cluster of Absence seizures that left her a little dazed and a lot unsteady. Cuddles and snoozes on the sofa meant she was feeling better by late afternoon, but it also meant Mummy's hands and arms were full of Angel cuddles and not busy doing jobs in preparation for Christmas! ..and I wouldn't have it any other way :) 
Then yesterday (Wednesday) we were busy moving my Mum from Southport to Chorley ...we did it, she'll be living amongst a myriad of boxes for weeks...but she is here, two minutes around the corner from me and not an hours drive ... I'm super excited to have Mum close by, not since hubby and I were first married have we lived so close ...its going to be good :) I'm anticipating a tearful few months as Mum adjusts to not only the loss of Dad but the stress and speed of moving home ...but we are here, so close that I can nip round at a moments notice to share a hug :)
 Today was kind of a forced  'relax' blessing in disguise as I was forced to stay home to await the delivery of my nice new shiny cooker :) Sooooooo and this is where the embarrassing bit comes in.... As I was forced to stay home,  I decided that the best way to relax would be to catch up on some sewing finishes, a little bit of present wrapping and a sort and clear out in  the fridge in preparation for the usual indulgence of festive foods :) I was flowing along soooo well with my stitching and cleaning and wrapping, but all day I was niggled with an odd pain in my left boob ...just a sharp sore pain that just niggled away at me  .... I discovered why, mid afternoonthanks to an amused parcel delivery man :( The door bell goes, I open up, happy  to be receiving my package and sign the weird electronic pad-thingy,  wincing as I do because my boob is hurting ...when the delivery man says to me... " doesn't that hurt"? ..." Does what hurt?"... I say ...He points at my boob (surprising me immensely ...I don't often get people pointing at my boobs!!) ... "Doesn't that pin hurt?" ...I  looked at where he is pointing ...only to spy  a yellow glass-bead topped pin stuck right in the middle of my boob!!!!!!!!!!! OOoooouucchhhh!!!! He is laughing and shaking his head as he leaves and I'm trying not to die of embarrassment while delicately trying to rescue my impaled boob and  remove the pin! How embarrassing ...and flippin' sore! To make things even worse ...I'd had 2 previous deliveries earlier and I thought that those delivery peoples had looked at me strange ...all along I'd been sporting a primitive and painful piercing ..thru' my jumper into my boob ...Reeaallly !!!??? How unfair is that ...I was sooooo sore and sooooo embarrassed! :( But I must obviously be a trooper because despite the pain I finished lots of stitching, got 1/2 my wrapping done and kind of looked at the fridge and thought about cleaning it ...I did get rid of a few old jars of pickles that had seen better days! :) hahahaha

So more important than my painfully embarrassing boob, today's finishes .... These are all projects that I started and stitched at least a year if not more ago but have been sat in one of my many baskets waiting to be completed ...I'm not sure I remember the pattern names and or designers ...
 I really like the simplicity of the "Merry Christmas" cross stitch ...I'm pretty certain that it is  a Joyce Reed design that I downloaded as a PDF from Etsy ...I backed it with a lovely aged red velvet and stuffed it with woolly clippings . Not sure who the little woolly Santa's are by... The design has them on one vertical piece of wool backing, but I opted to make them into teensy weensy bowl fillers can see by the pins that they still need their bottoms sewing closed :)

I know this is a Brenda Gervais -Country Stitches, with thy needle & thread design...
 the pattern is called "In Santa Claus Land" is finished as a wall pocket but I chose to make it into a wall sack :) I just need to add a few decorative buttons to the top band, and maybe if I can find some in my stash, some rusty bell to the bottom and some ribbon or trim for the sack handle ...almost finished! ;) hahaha

Another Brenda Gervais cross-stitch design...
for  "Christmas at Winterberry Cabin" I really wanted to frame this piece, I would have liked a olde worlde fancy black frame but I couldn't find one big enough and so chose a simple thick black frame...its pretty solid and heavy so should withstand Angel attention! :) hahaha  I cant remember the designer or pattern name of the woolly Father Christmas but I was quite pleased with his finish ...a previously bought primitive style board ..attached using some 505 spray (so not sure exactly how long it will stay attached! hehehe) rusty bells and fake greenery and a red bow to finish off ...and I really like how it looks ...even with a big red bow! hahaha

More Brenda Gervais....
 "Jingle Bells" ...finished as a pillow this time ...but thinking it kind of needs something else ???? possible a cluster of woolly holly leaves and berries... in the corner?  Along the edges? Down one side? A little bit more thought is needed I think :)

Last but not least ...a woolly stocking pillow...
I've had this pattern stitched and sewn and ready for finishing for years idea the name of the pattern or designer ...seem to remember it actually being a wall hanging but we all know I love my pillows on the piano! :)

Not tooo bad to say I was sewing under the influence of an almost punctured boob! ...although sadly it would take a whole pincushion to deflate my boobs! :( I'm happy to finally have some new Christmassy projects finished and ready to be enjoyed time I have a mad manic urge to stitch and sew ...I'll keep an eye on those flippin pins!!!! I was soooooooooooo embarrassed! :(
hugs Wendy x x x

P.S My new oven is beautiful and shiny! ;) hahaha

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Christmas 'buyings'! :) ....

 I was very good on my trip to York, I enjoyed the wonderful Christmas ambiance and only did a teensy bit of shopping ...mostly little felt Santa Claus's :)
 Although I think one might be a sneaky gnome posing as a Santa ! hehehe :) And I have just the perfect places for them in my Christmas decorating this year.

My favourite new treasure is a wonderful 'win' on Ebay ...
 A WilliRaye Nativity figurine/ornament ... its sooo hard to find these lovely American Folk Art pieces here in the UK ...and buying from the US is sooo expensive with taxes and import duty. So you can probably imagine my excitement when I saw it 'for sale' on a UK ebay site ...and even better I was the only bidder so managed to snap it up at a fairly reasonable price ...with no import taxes or even UK Post and Packaging ...that was free too! Win-Win I think :) I'm super-duper pleased with my 'win' ...and no little Angel has noticed it yet so fingers crossed its safe and survives Christmas! ..hahaha :)

In between lots of comings and goings and running around I popped into our local-ish TKMaxx and Homesense stores ...looking for inspiration for Christmas gifts  for family and friends know those awkward ones that have everything and anything so you need to hunt for something  a little bit different ...otherwise its socks...again! hehehe I didn't actually find what I was looking for ...BUT ...I was tempted to fill my basket with these goodies ...
 A cute Santa hand Puppet, another Santa head (like the one I found in York!..hehe) and some sweet little woolly tree decorations ...I couldn't leave them ..could I!? ;)
Then I also found...
 a lovely selection of velvet ribbon a very reasonable price! :)...into my basket!

And you know I can't resist a nativity snow globe......
I very sneakily placed my new snow-globe 'in-situ' with my other Nativity snow-globes...because I actually find hiding new goodies in plain sight very well doesn't seem to notice them when they are out in the open! hahaha :)

And it wouldn't be Christmas if I didn't have a new Jim Shore Santa to add to my collection ...
a new one, or two ...or three ...they were a bargain ...and the last of stock ...and that's always a sure way to make me spend ...cant miss out on the very last one! ;) hehehe

And as I was back in the 'zone' I also picked up these cute Nordic -Christmas tins from Ikea ...and ...wait for it...
...absolutely nothing else! Wow're impressed I can tell!! hahaha :)

My fingers have started to return to their stitchy fingerness ... I finally finished the Halloween sampler I'd started what seems like a very long time ago, whilst sat with Dad during those long sad days and nights ...
 'Halloween Sampler' by Cottage Garden Samplers, using all the called for threads and linen that I fortunately had in my stash! :) Its quite a big piece and I can see it finished in a nice thick black old frame  ...just need to find one now! haha

I've almost completed this sweet little piece too...
'Merry Mouse' by Brenda Gervais of Country Stitches -with thy needle and thread. Just a few  more snowflakes to stitch and its ready to be made into a small bowl filler :) I have pulled some woolly Christmas kits out of my basket but as of yet I haven't had time to prep them ready for stitching ...never say never...where there's a will-there's a way... If I can find time before the Angels finish school for the holidays I'll try but if not ... its not a big worry :)

Talking of Angels ..time to shower them before pjs and bedtime, with the vain hopes of escaping a 'drowning' ...its never not going to happen ;)...Angels plus water always means a soaking!! the neighbors no doubt will be able to hear all our shrieks and giggles  of excited should really be glad you don't live next door to us!!  :)
Hugs Wendy x x x 

Monday, 19 December 2016

Christmas trip to York...

My lovely hubby decided that with all the sadness and business of the last several weeks  that I was in need of a treat day :) So he thoughtfully drove me over to York to visit the Michel-mass Christmas Markets to top my myself up with a little bit of Christmas cheer :) ....Ooooh he was soooo right, it was just what I needed, I had a wonderful dreamlike day and York was absolutely beautiful ...I have lots of pretty photos which I will just let speak for themselves :) ...

 It was such a lovely day out. There is nothing better than walking down bustling olde-worlde streets looking in posh shop windows and dreaming of how to spend my millions ..hehehe   York is such a beautiful historic city, and it was decorated soooo prettily,  it  really got me in the mood for Christmas. I'm so grateful to have such a loving and thoughtful hubby, he knew exactly what I needed ...but ssshhhh...don't tell him he was right  ;) ...He'll crow about it forever! ...hahaha  :)

I tried not to have idle hands on the drive there and back to York ...a little bit of stitching kept me busy ...
 Last year I had the idea to make a small Christmas tree decoration to commemorate (is that the right word??) Jacobs Mission. The idea was there but it wasn't until I was mooching around thru' some of my old patterns a week or so ago that I found a  baby's 'My First Christmas' a design by Lizzie Kate.  I thought I could adapt it to remember Jacobs Missionary Christmas's :) I don't think its turned out too badly,  I ran out of red thread on the drive home, but I have more in my stash, just a few small crosses to stitch and then I just need to finish it and hopefully get it on the tree in time for the 25th ...hopefully!! hahaha :)

I also managed to get Jacobs Christmas parcel safely off to Madrid last week ....

Just a small package this year because Elder Kirbs will be home in 50 days!!!!!! Eeeaaakkk!!!! we are soooooo excited! As he is home not tooo long after Christmas he actually requested no gifts this year (it is just more for him to carry home) but I couldn't not send him anything so I did send him two 'treats' packages to share ...not reeeaally presents! ;) And just this one simple little box of treats for Jake himself, mostly just silly Christmas socks and ties and a football shirt :)  Spanish post is definitely speedier in Madrid as he already has his parcel and its under his tree in the office! ...
Yaaay ...Santa didn't forget our Spanish Missionary :) hehehe ....Jake's parcel is the nice bright red one! 

I need to share some photos of my 'buyings' from York ..only a few, as I was very good! ;) and I had a delicious 'win' on Ebay that was very exciting ...and there's my Christmas decorations ...we are definitely starting to feel some Christmas cheer here in our home. We have a busy week ahead, Mum moves into her new bungalow on Wednesday (!!)  Last day of school is on Thursday before the holidays ...I still need to shop for and wrap presents may be a selection of gift bags this year for everyone to open ..hehehe ... I will try to be back before the big day, but if not,  lots of love and thanks to all my family and special friends for all your love and kindness this last few weeks've truly made a very sad time much more bearable! :) x x

Hugs Wendy x x x

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Memories of DadπŸ™‚

I was a little unsure when Mum asked me to speak at Dads funeral, we had hubby giving the Eulogy and Abi shared her thoughts and the lovely words that Jacob had sent from Spain. I wasn't sure if I actually needed to speak, or even whether I'd be able to πŸ˜• Since Dads passing life has just been a little bit off kilter, a teensy bit surreal and just not quite real. I'm not sure, but I actually think it must be the way our hearts and minds cope with events that turn our very lives upside some small way everything been a little bit 'odd' helped us all get through those blurry days leading up to the funeral and through the dreaded day too. Mum didn't pressure me to speak , but being his very own bossy and 'practically imperfectly perfect' Wendy-woo, as my Dad would call me (amongst other names that I can't possibly write down for posterity to read!πŸ™ƒ) I felt I needed to share my own thoughts....

Dad always loved a funeral ...he loved hearing about the stories and antics that whoever had passed had lived... Everyone who knew Dad, knew that he loved to laugh, he was cheeky and funny and loved to tease and 'wind people up' , he was a 'stirrer' , always up to some I decided that what Dad would find amusing should he be looking down on us all gathered at his funeral, would be the sharing of some of his shenanigans πŸ™‚ And that's what I did and I'll try to write them down now so that we have them saved forever.

One of the tales often told was about Dad and his cooking ... he wasn't a particularly good or bad cook, he tried. πŸ™ƒHis main go-to dish was shepherds pie, we had shepherds pie every week, sometimes two or three was a cheap and easy meal to make but sometimes we wanted to strangle that shepherd and make him eat his own pie πŸ™‚ I can remember one time my sister was  soooooo fed up of eating shepherds pie that she vehemently declared that she didn't pay 'board' to Mum and Dad, simply to be fed shepherds pie all the which I recall Dad telling her if she actually paid her board we all could have a break from shepherds pie!! Hehe ...I also recall one Christmas, him cheekily baking a nice big 'mince' pie, fortunately not for us but for one of his friends...he slyly offered to serve custard or gravy with the pie...being Christmas the friend presumed the pie to be a sweet mincemeat pie and chose lashings of thick, sweet,  yellow, custard...I'm sure you can imagine his horror when he tasted sweet custard atop his savoury minced 'meat' pie!! πŸ™‚ That was my Dad ..full of mischief !πŸ™‚

Dad played several 'tricks' on me two that I particularly remember, and may never forget and forgive him for happened many years ago ... I had finished College and my A levels and had been fortunate to be offered and accept a 'job' to train and eventually work as an Audiologist at a big hospital in Leeds (St James's) 'job/training' offers were very limited and always had excessive numbers of applicants, so my Dad was really proud of me that I had been successful with my application and interviews. He was great at advising me and helping me sort out all the registering and basically preparing for employment. He took me by bus one day down into Leeds city centre to register my employment and details at the local government office. It was a lovely old stone building, with a great big stone staircase leading up to several floors...Dad was really a big comfort, because I was nervous and not sure what to do, but Dad calmly told me that this was where my details would be recorded and I would declare all the legal 'stuff' required to start employment ...I just believed everything he told me !!! Dad had explained on the bus about paying income tax and national insurance out of my wages and he'd also told me I didn't have to pay it if I didn't want to, I just had to be sure to ask for the correct form when we got to the office. I believed my Dad!!! When we arrived at the office, it was essentially a wide room with a counter across its width with three glass 'teller sections' ' (not sure of the right word)  I was queuing in the middle aisle ...all three queues were full of mostly men and other people registering. Dad stood a little to one side slightly behind me , gently giving me encouragement. My turn arrived and as I supplied all my relevant details, I requested the form that would enable me to 'opt out' from paying income tax on my wages... I can only imagine the glee in my Dads eye behind me, but I was very fortunate that the man behind the desk leant forward and asked me to repeat myself a little louder...not once but twice ...loud enough for all the other people queuing to hear what I was requesting took me awhile to figure out they were all laughing at me! It took a little longer for me to realise that you can't opt out of paying income tax! I remember my cheeks burning, I remember being called 'love' (typical Yorkshire term) I remember feeling like I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me whole ...I remember my Dad sniggering and occasion guffawing on the bus ride home ....I also remember not talking to him for nearly a full week!! 😐 That was my Dad, if he could feed you a line, hook you up he'd reel you in hook line and sinker! What can I say I was a sweet naive young woman! Over the years I got my own back never fearπŸ™‚

Another time I remember Dad causing mischief, was several years after I'd qualified as an Audiologist, I used to go out visiting patients in their own homes, when they were unable to get to the hospital. Our department also ran small 'satellite clinics ' in some doctors surgeries in some of the more distant towns around Leeds. By this time Dad was semi-retired from work and if able, he would love to come out with me for a drive to wherever I was visiting. He particularly enjoyed it when we had to go to Otley and Ilkley. He loved the drive out into the countryside and loved having a walk on the Moors whilst I visited my patients and picked him up later, always with a treat for us to share on the way back home, usually a sticky iced bun or vanilla slice (iced custard cake) Most Friday afternoons would see me driving over to Pudsey to run a small satellite clinic there. Dad often came and would either go for a walk in the park or just sit in the waiting area reading a book...and talking to my patients...!!! Pudsey was renowned for having one or two 'awkward' and slightly demanding patients, but I never really had any trouble there ....I found out why one afternoon... on one visit, whilst attending to an elderly man, he nervously leant forward and asked me if the 'tale' was true?? What tale I asked? The one about me being a black belt at karate, and that I'd once 'thrown' a patient over my shoulder because he'd asked for an extra packet of batteries for his hearing aid!!! Apparently my Dad hadn't being innocently reading his book in the waiting room for several weeks ...noooooo...he'd being scaring my patients with tales about how I didn't tolerate any nonsense and was a black belt and not to be messed with and how I'd demonstrated a 'move' on him once for being rude enough to ask for more batteries!! My patients were terrified of me!! For years afterwards I was still asked about my black belt ....which I never had!!!....I couldn't tell you the difference between red, white or green belts or even if you get them in judo, karate or aikido! Such a tinker was my Dad, he just perpetuated that tale to my scared patients in Pudsey for years without me knowing!!πŸ™‚πŸ™ƒ I'm  not sure who he 'set-up' the most, me or my poor patients!...good job he bought me cakes to eat on the way home! πŸ™‚Hehehe

That was my Dad!! I could tell more and more stories...he was such a tinker and I loved him...he was one in a million, always up to no good, always up to mischief. We had soooo much fun, so much banter and cheekiness and sooo much love. I am so blessed that he was my Dad ...although I'm still not sure I've forgiven him for the tax prank ...that still makes me blush πŸ™‚

I shared a few more of his tales at Dads funeral. I hope I made him smile, I hope we all did him proud and that he enjoyed his funeral, if he was watching. I'll have to try and remember and share more of his tales another time πŸ™‚ I love and miss my Dad .. he always made me smile, I'll always be his "practically imperfect, perfect, Wendy woo" you Dad xxx
Hugs Wendy xx

Abi's thoughts on GrandadπŸ™‚

I'm just going to copy and paste Abi's own words that she wrote to read out at his funeral ...good job she actually wrote them down and didn't just ramble like I did ..haha πŸ™‚
Good afternoon, my name is Abigael or as Grandad would call me ...Miss Abigael, I was Grandads eldest grandchild and I've just been asked to share a few memories with you all today. I love the saying, that love is really spelt T-i-m-e, TIME, and I feel that Grandad really encapsulated this phrase.
Grandad always made time for us, his Grandchildren, whether it was taking us for a long walk in the fields to feed the horses carrots or taking us to Leeds on the bus to walk around the stalls to get a bag of sweets and some chips and gravy. Grandad would find any excuse to spend time with us whether it be picking apples and fruit in his garden, going for a walk around the neighbourhood or taking us to the park to play for a few hours. We loved our weekends away at Grandma and Grandad's where we'd get spoilt with all these lovely pastimes! 

The highlights of childhood summers for myself Jacob and our cousin Leah, were of course our holidays to Hartlepool with Grandma and Grandad. We would spend the week playing on the coal beaches in Hartlepool, visiting the marina to see the ships and boats, going to the museum and playing around the caravan park, as well as late night chats and midnight feasts. However our number one goal throughout the week was always to get a bucket of water thrown over Grandad's head! Our Grandad was quick and I'm almost certain he loved the fact that he could outrun our little legs and dodge our bucket throws of water. We'd spend hours running along the beach desperately trying and scheming to get Grandad with a bucket of water between the three of us. We loved having a Grandad who would play with us and never seemed to get bored of our game, well that is until the year I was fast enough to keep pace with Grandad and tall enough to poor a bucket of icy water over his head! Grandad didn’t seem to mind a bit of cold water on his legs or body but an over the head shot was obviously too far and our beloved grumpy Grandad ended the game there forever more. We also loved our visits to see Grandad's Aunty Renee in Hartlepool and all the stories he would tell us about his childhood in Hartlepool. We loved the one about Grandad and his cousin getting the cat drunk, by topping its milk bowl up with his Aunts stout, but my favourite story that Grandad loved to tell us was about his cousin, Connie, who would run out of the house and jump straight over the railing guards that stopped people falling into the sea, much to his Mothers despair and disbelief. Unbeknownst to Grandad's poor Aunt , Grandad's cousin, would be holding on to the bottom of the railings with his body hanging down the other side of the wall, unharmed and delighting in his poor Mothers frightened disbelief. Grandad would tell us lots of stories about his Mum and Dad, his son John, my Mum and Aunty Helen, about himself and all his family, I loved listening to them and I’m glad he took the time to tell them to us.

My Grandad taught me a lot about love and service, Grandad was always busy helping others, he had a friend called Ben, an elderly old man who lived by himself just around the corner from my Grandparents house. Grandad and Ben had become friends after Grandad had stopped to chat with Ben one day whilst he was sat in his garden, from then on Grandad would often pop in to chat with Ben and they became good friends. Later as Ben got on a bit Grandad would pop round and make him a meal and check up on him throughout the day to make sure he was comfortable and well, just so that Ben could stay in his own home . Grandma and Grandad would take Ben to his hospital appointments and anywhere he needed to go and generally gave Ben friendship and help wherever and whenever he needed it. Grandad loved Ben and he would encourage us to come with him to visit Ben and to make him cards and homemade gifts. I'll never forget the excitement when I made Ben a key ring as a present and the next time I went round I could see it hanging from his keys! Grandad was a perfect example of love and friendship, he was kind and caring to all those he came into contact with, I was always so proud walking around the neighbourhood with my Grandad because he knew everybody and everybody would wave smile and say there hellos, it made me feel like I was walking around with a celebrity! Everybody knew who Grandad was, even on the bus! 

I'm lucky to have many wonderful memories of my Grandad, he would tease and joke with us endlessly but we always knew he loved us because of the time he spent with us and effort he put into making us happy. Grandad loved us all, but he especially loved my Grandma, his Marjorie, he would joke that Margarine was always better than butter but I truly knew my Grandad loved my Grandma because of the way he served her, everything my Grandad did he always had my Grandma in the back of his mind whether it was a piece of Russian slice cake from Leeds market or breakfast in bed. I'm so grateful for the way my Grandad taught me to love, through his example. I saw love and kindness in all my Grandad's actions, even in his cheeky grins as he teased and taunted me with his jokes! My Grandad made me and all those around him feel loved and special even when he was telling you to get lost! We'll miss our cuddles from Grandad, especially my little sisters Esther and Miriam who loved there silly Grandad cuddles full of tickles and singing. Miriam especially loved to sit by Grandad and hold his hand. We will all miss him but hopefully we can emulate Granddad and his example of love and kindness. 
Love Abigael x x 

I'd also like to share my thoughts too...although I just spoke from my heart and didn't really write anything down on the day, but I do have tales to tell ...that really should never be forgotten..heheπŸ˜‰ and recording them here in my blog/journal is a good way to remember them ...another 'post' I think as this one is quite long already πŸ™‚
Hugs Wendy xxx

Dads Eulogy ..

I've managed to find a moments breath of time just to update my blog/journal with some memories of Dad , for family and friends that couldn't be at his funeral last week ... I thought I'd try and share in two parts, I shared Jacob's lovely words and thoughts last time but I also thought it might be nice to share the Eulogy that hubby gave and Abi's words about her Grandad πŸ™‚ ..Hopefully I'll be back soon with my usual ramblings, just wanted to preserve some special words in memory of Dad πŸ™‚

John Kenneth Gray “Ken”
27 September 1928 -23 N0vember 2016
John Kenneth Gray  “Ken” 
*Born 27 September 1928 to Jane Robinson and John Robert Gray in the Yorkshire town of Kirkheaton near Huddersfield.
*He was an older brother to Brian
*As a child his father served with the Royal flying corps and was stationed in various locations, Troon in Scotland and Seaton Carew in The North East amongst a  few. 
*Whilst living in Troon Ken developed a Love of golf and had the opportunity to play on the Royal Troon Golf course, however he wasn’t old enough or rich enough to be a member so would sneak under and over the fences to play, don’t think he ever get caught, so it should be safe to  reveal his dubious antics now …
*Ken meticulously kept diaries and journals from a young age and throughout his life. Recording world events and day to day life …. One of our particular favourite entries was...Sunday 3 September 1939 - "Britain Declares War on Germany." Followed by, Monday 4 September 1939 –"Had a Bath."
*When he was 14years old he started a 7 year apprenticeship to become a Bricklayer.
* At 19 Ken’s father died and he became the head of the family, providing and caring for his mother and younger brother.
*He often recalled a story of living in Hartlepool and on his way to and from work calling in at the local sweet shop for treats and would hear a baby crying from the flat upstairs …he would often ask if he could take the baby out for a walk in its pram … that year was 1947 , the year Marjorie was born and Marjorie was that crying baby and he would joke that 1947 was a really bad winter and whilst Marjorie was born warm and comfortable in a nice hospital he was trudging thru snow to buy bread and milk .
*In 1957 Kens son, John Robert Gray, was born in Hartlepool.  John was born with Downs Syndrome and severe health problems. At that time due to his health John had to spend the first 8 years of his life in a specialist hospital up in Newcastle. Ken was a devoted father and would visit John daily and then weekly even when he relocated to live and work in Leeds.
*Once John was finally discharged from hospital, Ken cared for him solely on his own at home. He loved and nurtured John and took care of all his physical and health needs. 
*During this time that Ken was raising John, he was also working fulltime, helping to build chapels in Hartlepool, Leeds and Dewsbury and many others.
*He always made sure to have holidays with John and create memories, every year they would fly off to enjoy the sun in Greece, Tunisia, Spain, and Mallorca etc…   
*So devoted a father was Ken, that one year when he asked John what he would like for his birthday, John responded...a Flute, Ken said OK , but John had a specific flute in mind, the flute he’d seen whilst on holiday in Tunisia! So without any hesitation Ken flew out to Tunisia and bought a flute for John!
*In and around 1978 Ken met Marjorie at Church, after a year or so of courting they were engaged in 1979 and Married 0n the 10 May 1980 in Leeds. 
Ken was always the storyteller, and would often recall the tale of when he took Marjorie out to buy her an engagement ring. Marjorie being a bit hesitant at choosing and not wanting to over-spend, selected a ring that was nice but maybe not what she would really have liked. Ken is known to have said once outside the shop, how pleased he was with the price of the ring ….  As he’d expected to spend a lot more!! 
*In marrying Marjorie, Ken also gained two daughters …which would have been totally against all that his Mother had ever cautioned him against, when she had told him to never marry a woman with girls …naturally Ken never ever regretted the joys of raising girls!
*As Ken got older he no longer worked on building sites but trained and taught new young men his trade.
*With his new family he enjoyed years of happy times, holidays abroad, midnight feasts, singing, lots of laughter and giggles… boyfriends and marriages. To Ken family was everything. He cared and nurtured for them his whole life.
*There were also sad times; Ken was devastated when John died in December 2000. The arrival of Grandchildren helped and he just continued to love and adore them.
*Ken served faithfully and diligently in all aspects of his Church life. To Ken caring for others was part of who he was, he never expected rewards or praise; he would just see a need and do it. He visited older members at their home and in hospital. He always completed 100% Home Teaching each month …sometimes doing 200% because he’d do Home Teaching for another ward. Even as he became less mobile and struggled with his health Home teaching was still something he strived very hard to do. For 20 years or more Ken and Marjorie fed the church missionaries every week …often enjoying teasing and laughing with them.
*In his later years he took great pride in how his family was growing. The arrival of new grandchildren, watching them grow up and getting married, serving missions …all his children and grandchildren were considered his greatest blessings. 
*Until the very end his heart and thoughts were always of his loved ones, some of his final words being, “My Marjorie, Bless you” . He was completely devoted to his wife, he loved Marjorie(my Margerine) above all else…after all, as Ken always said, "Margarine is better than butter"! 
*Ken will be remembered as a kind, gentle, loving man. He leaves a legacy of love and compassion and laughter.

I think I might need to do another post with Abis words ...she had lots to say about her beloved GrandadπŸ™‚

Hugs Wendy xx

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Sad times...:(

Our hearts are broken, my sweet father passed away last Wednesday morning :( The Dementia advanced much more quickly in the latter stages than any of us expected. In a matter of weeks, we lost his cheeky smile and comments, his tales and laughter. In some ways it may be a blessing that he didn't suffer the last horrible stage too long. He is released from the pain and cruelty that is Dementia and Alzheimer's the last day or so of his life he was still able to tell my Mum that he loved his Marjorie ..even though we are not sure he knew he was talking to mum...small comforts that will stay with us forever.  my poor mum is heartbroken , she has lost her husband, her companion, her love. Arrangements have to be made ..and I have been slightly overwhelmed with all that is required, I never fully understood all that needs to be done, but I think we have everything in place now. Dad's funeral will be a very quiet affair, Dad will be surrounded by his family,  just the way he would have wanted it :)  We had some beautiful sweet moments a day prior to his passing where all the family that were able spent some time talking to dad and sharing last farewells. Jacob was able to telephone from Madrid to say goodbye to his Granddad, Dad wasn't conscious but I hope some small part of him heard the lovely words we all had to say and felt the love that his family have for him. We wont be flying Jacob home for the funeral either, its  not what my Dad would have wanted, but Jacob sent some beautiful words to be read out at the service to be held on Friday :) Abigael will share them on his behalf, and as we read them we were all filled with how well Jake described the man that we all love so much ... I'll close with his words, just so that in years to come we can remember and smile .... 

John Kenneth 'Ken' Gray
27 September 1928 - 23 November 2016
When I hear the word "Grandad" I think of happiness, of joy. I think of joking around and having fun. I think of laughter and smiles. I think of all the cycling we watched. I think of his garden, of the apples and the berries. I think of buying chips and gravy at the market in Leeds. I think of the little tables we would get out to eat our dinner on. I think about the long walks in the countryside, seeing the horses and feeding them from our hands. I think about the times he came over and picked us up from school. I think about the beach in Scarborough, riding on the donkeys, making sand castles and running around with buckets of water. I think of love.

When I think of love, the love that my Grandad has, it's endless; without restrictions, without conditions or terms. I remember as a child we would receive a letter every now and again from Grandad and every time there would be 50p in each letter. I don't remember what he wrote, or if I even understood what it was that he wrote, but I do remember the 50p. To a small child 50p can seem a lot, to many of us now it doesn't seem like anything. But there was so much more to it than just 50p, it was a reminder that our Grandad loved us, that he was always thinking about us. Even though we lived far apart and we couldn't see each other often he found a way to constantly show his love for us. No matter how cheeky or mischievous we were his love was never exhausted. No matter how many buckets of cold sea water we poured over him we would still go back the next year to do the same.

My Grandad is one of the greatest examples of love there is. An example that I want to follow the rest of my life. I've felt my Grandads love whilst here in Spain, and I will continue to feel it till I see him again. I know when we meet again it will be like it was when we were last together. I'll always remember his smile and I'll be waiting anxiously to see it again.
I Love you Grandad, Jacob xx

Hugs Wendy x x 

Thursday, 10 November 2016

its finally time....

to get the fluffy socks and snuggle blankets out ... Bbrrrrr its been cold the last couple of days ...there's been more than a few hot chocolates (with marshmallows and cream, naturally!) sipped just lately ;) We've had a few busy weeks, there's been a lot of running around backwards and forwards to my parents in Southport. My Dad hasn't been very well,  he had a fall several weeks ago and he's been  in and out of hospital and sadly it seems his Dementia and Alzheimer's has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Its been a horrible time to be honest, :(  to see someone, my Daddy, the man that has loved and cherished and taken care of me all my life becoming someone who is not himself. My heart feels like it is breaking, I miss my Daddy. I miss our silly moments and our silly games, I miss his hugs and his soothing words, I miss his off-key singing and his terrible rhyming, I miss his voice. :(  and I cant even begin to imagine how my poor poor heartbroken  Mum is feeling .... :(   As I said, because of Dads deterioration, Mum and I have had to make the heartbreaking decision this week that Dad needs to be somewhere that he can be taken care of properly.  He now needs full time  nursing care and Mum simply cant manage that on her own at home. I desperately wish I could have Dad at home with me, but with my Angels that unfortunately wouldn't be good for him or them.  Mum and I have discussed things and we feel that Dad needs to be as close to family as possible so we are hoping to find a Nursing home for him here in Chorley close to me and his grandchildren, we've also decided to move Mum to Chorley too so that we are all together and can continue to love and support one another. So  we now need to begin the process of finding somewhere for both Dad and Mum  to live and be as happy as we all can be. The next few weeks or so are going to be a hectic and worrisome time, we are hoping that we can all be settled in time for Christmas but it may take longer .... lots of prayers will be said I'm sure :)  

 Sitting with Mum and Dad over the last few weeks, amidst all the tears and sadness I've found comfort in my stitching, it  has enabled me to keep my fingers busy and my mind distracted and focused ...does that make sense? :) 
I have one  wrinkly finish ...but its still a finish :)
Babushka's Blossoms by Plum Street Samplers is finally out of my hoop and in its place ....
 "Halloween Sampler"  by Cottage Garden Samplers ...I didn't  quite  manage to get it finished in time for Halloween this year but it was a very welcome distraction :) 

I also finished several small (portable) woolly projects by Buttermilk Basin Designs and 'All thru the Night' -Bonnie Sullivan designs. they were fun,  satisfying and quick stitches ...just what I needed

They will probably sit in my basket for awhile, I'm not sure I'll have time to visit my sewing machine for awhile yet :(  Tomorrow I have 2 or 3 Nursing homes to visit and a  few bungalows and flats to view for Mum too, all before my Angels get home from school ..haha. I'm hoping I'll have a better idea of where we can make sure Dad will be happy and cared for and Mum will be comfortable and happy too. I hope to be back with more bedside stitching, but if not you know where I am...trying to keep out of trouble.... :)

Hugs Wendy x x x

Monday, 31 October 2016

99 Days and Happy Halloween ..

Halloween is upon us already :) My Angels were all excited to decorate with our carved pumpkins ...they were very eager to help with the carving !!! Eeeeaaakkk knives!!!...I don't think so! ;) ...we are not quite ready for that kind of excitement in our life yet! We'll settle for the excitement of wonderful battery operated "can't singe your eyebrows off" tealights...even if they are not as much fun to blow out! Hehe....
I missed Abi and Jake helping me with the carving again this year...not quite sure that these are quite up to scratch but my Angels like them and that's what fact one of my Angels likes her own glittery pumpkin a bit toooooo much! ...hehehe...
That pumpkin is receiving a lot of attention...and my Angel is covered in glitter from all the pumpkin hugging! :) 

I may have acquired a few non-carved pumpkins too.... ;)

LOVE this glass pumpkin....had to have it, nowhere to put it...but I had to have it! Hahaha

And these two sweet pumpkins just happened to be lucky finds on the dreaded EBay only seemed right that they come to live with me!  ;)
I love the teensy weensy  crocheted pumpkin....wish I could crochet!

Then I also found this cute dried/plastic fake Autumnal floral arrangement in the sale section at the supermarket...
They were tooo cheap to not buy! ;) haha and I think it makes a welcome addition to my pumpkin display in the kitchen ..haha...any excuse!?! :)

And the 99 Days??? .....well it's  99 days today and my Jacob will be home! How wonderful is that!?...we are starting to get very excited here! :) Next year Jake can be in charge of the pumpkin carving...I think I need a rest! ;) 

Halloween hugs, Wendy xxx