12. From a low angle

Time to catch up on the #photoadayjune posts! Sorry for the bunch of posts which are about to appear one after the other.

On Tuesday I took lots of photos while Three and Mum and I were out at the local park, but totally forgot about the photo a day prompt. Thankfully I appear to have taken a few which could qualify, so here is Three playing on a pile of boulders we came across!

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Today

–          Began bleary eyed, waking from a dream in which I’d been cycling and then watching the sunrise on a beach. The image of that sunrise is still incredibly clear in my mind; it was beautiful. I found it difficult to wake properly and get out of bed, but it had to be done as the older two children had to be sent off to school.

–          Breakfasted in my pyjamas, unusually – I’m normally dressed before I make it downstairs but today I knew I was going to have a shower after breakfast.  Ate some toast and drank a huge mug of tea while seeing One and Two off to school and trying to avoid playing Littlest Pet Shop Top Trumps with Three as I felt it was too early and I wasn’t awake enough!

–          Took advantage of the fact that Three had put a dvd on to watch and nipped upstairs for a shower. For some reason the water pressure was better than usual this morning and it was the best shower I’ve ever had in our bathroom. The water was actually coming out of the individual holes in the shower head instead of gathering together in the middle and just trickling onto my head! It woke me up beautifully.

–          Checked bank account to ensure the Jobseeker’s Allowance had arrived on time (it had, thank goodness!) and proceeded to make a shopping list.

–          Phoned Mum to suggest gardening plans for the day and invite her to a picnic in the park with Three and myself.

–          Prised Three away from the dvd and went to the supermarket for a week’s worth of groceries now my card wasn’t likely to be rejected for lack of funds! Brought groceries home, unpacked them and put them away, then made up a picnic.

–          Collected Mum and drove on to the local park. Enjoyed our picnic. Played a ‘one-a-side’ game of football with Three (she won). Had a walk around the park – first time I’ve actually been since extensive restoration work has taken place and it is looking really lovely. Mum treated us to an ice cream. Three had ten minutes on the play area before it was time to come back home.

–          After a cuppa (it’s thirsty work spending three hours at the park, you know!) we got busy in the little bit of garden at the front of our house. Apart from planting a rosebush at the edge of it two years ago, I’ve basically ignored this patch ever since my ex husband moved out – the garden was very much his domain and it has taken me a long time, for some reason, for me to feel as though that space is my own. I started taking control of the back garden last year, and this year I feel it is very much mine, as I’ve moved things around and started growing exactly what I want to grow (mostly edible stuff). The front, though, has simply been left, and until this afternoon was totally overgrown with ivy and sticky weeds. There was a foxglove and some crocosmia growing out of the middle, but they were having the life choked out of them by the tangled weeds.

–          We worked very hard for nearly two hours. Now the weeds are all gone and the plants can be seen, as can the front wall! It looks amazing and completely different. In a week or so when it’s all settled down a bit, I can dig over the soil and look at the spaces between the plants and decide what else to put in there.

–          Odd that it has taken three years to get to the point where I can deal with the front border at all – and now I have started I suddenly really feel as though I’m making it my own. This is very good for me.

–          Said goodbye and thank you very much indeed to my mum, and then spent what felt like forever cooking tuna and mushroom bake for tea.

–          We ate our tea in the living room watching the remainder of the Greece v Czech Republic match.

–          Still to come this evening before I can collapse into bed after my full on day: a) Get Three to bed (surely she must be as tired as me? No?) b) Wash the tea pots c) Ironing (I have to; most of the seating in the living room is full of piles of clean washing) d) Watch Poland v Russia (not exactly a hardship, that one, and it will make the ironing go faster!).

Given that yesterday Three and I spent the morning playing Battleships and Chess, and the afternoon on  a local scoot/walk ‘exploring the jungle’ and avoiding crocodiles and tigers, I am really, really looking forward to a quieter day mostly in the house tomorrow! This second week of half term with just Three and myself is lots of fun but there isn’t much let up at any point!

However, you don’t hear me complaining. I’m feeling very blessed with life right now.

There’s no time like the present!

As there are twenty minutes to go till Netherlands v Denmark kick off, here’s a quick  round up of the current state of affairs in the Prev household!

– It’s half term. One and Two get one week off; Three gets two. I am planning free ways for the two of us to amuse ourselves together next week. All three are currently with their dad for a few days – home tomorrow. I’m currently making the most of the silence and alone time, mostly by staying in bed late each morning and eating my way through the one portion meals in the freezer to save money!

– I enjoyed a trip to Bridgemere garden centre with my mum on Thursday. She was feeling sad because she had had to say goodbye to one of her cats at the vets in the morning. 😦 We cheered ourselves up with lots of window shopping – particularly being cynical at the prices of things-you-never-knew-you-needed in the Lakeland outlet! – and some real plant shopping. I am excited by my garden this year and have a nice big tomato plant and six strawberry plants now to add to the peas and the herbs.

– Had my final counselling session yesterday; a bitter sweet moment as I will miss my lovely counsellor and I’ve been going and ranting at her cathartically for nearly two years. However, I know it is time to move on now and I have changed so much and learned such a lot about myself. I’m coping a million times better with life’s difficulties now and I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved. Life is still unpredictable and bumpy but I have a toolbox to deal with it now. 🙂

– Euro 2012 has begun and I am happily indulging in one of my guilty pleasures which is that of televised international football! I got really into the France 98 World Cup when I was on maternity leave while pregnant with One, and have loved every tournament ever since.

– I’m still managing to keep on top of the house and it is lovely to be living in a tidier environment most of the time now. I still need to help the kids tackle their rooms though; we’re all still struggling to break through the mess barrier there!

– Netherlands v Denmark kick off in about 5 minutes now so I think it is time for me to settle back with my cup of tea and start shouting at the screen! Hurrah!

The Olympic torch relay passes through Crewe!

Early yesterday morning, the Olympic torch relay came through Crewe. All of the town’s schools stayed closed until 10.30 am so that the children and staff could go and watch if they wished.

We were lucky enough to live very close to the torch’s route – it was due to pass right past the end of our road not long after eight o’clock. We set off at about half past seven to the corner of our street and placed ourselves in a good viewing spot. The children’s dad was also in Crewe for the occasion with his camera, and Two decided to join him for the duration, so for most of the time it was just me and the girls (and a few thousand other people who joined us along the road!).

It was raining a bit so a certain birthday present umbrella was pressed into service:

One and Three perched on the edge of the pavement for a while to rest their legs. The pair of them look SO similar in this photo!:

People gathering on the bridge just up the road:

And people gathering in the other direction:

The policemen on their motorbikes enjoyed the attention!:

The people in the town centre got free cokes. We were out of town and just got to wave at the lorry!

Small people played in the middle of the road, just because they could!

When the torch itself came past, it was a rather ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ moment! This is the only photo I managed to get of the flame. You can just see it in the bottom left of the photo, sticking out of someone’s head!

We then cut through some side streets to try to catch the torch again as it went past the station. One, Two and their dad all saw it again. Three and I were bringing up the rear more slowly and missed it by a minute or two! However, we then walked down to the United Carpets car park, where Whitby Morrison the ice cream van company were having a display of vintage ice cream vans, and giving out free ice cream for us all to have for breakfast!:

We all had a great morning and enjoyed being part of a historic event and seeing just how many people turned out to enjoy the spectacle even so early in the day!

A little bat detecting

Last night, the children, my mum and I went to Englesea Brook Chapel and Museum for their Museums at Night event – a Bat Night!

We watched a slide show and talk done by a local Bat conservation enthusiast, Ged Ryan. It was fabulous, fascinating, and we all learned a lot. Like, every pipistrelle bat  eats 3000 insects every night. Without bats we would be completely overrun with little flies, midges and moths. And female bats accept their fellas’ sperm then save it for six months so they can get themselves pregnant at exactly the right time depending on when the weather is going to be at its warmest.

Then we ate bat biscuits, shortbread and scones while we waited for it to get dark enough for the real live bats to come out! At this point I nipped One home as she didn’t want to be too late to bed, with a bus to catch early this morning. I still got back to the museum in time for a bat biscuit and a cup of tea. 🙂

Eventually, at about nine o’clock, it was deemed to be getting dark enough for our walk down the road with the bat detectors. Even before we’d left the museum drive, some of us had seen a bat flit over and heard the distinctive clicking noise on the detectors which is the sound of the bat shouting for its echolocation to work!

I didn’t get any photos of bats, but we heard plenty with our detectors! It was really interesting to hear how we could tell what type of bat it was depending on which frequency on the detectors was the clearest. The bigger bats have lower frequencies.

Eventually, it got a bit too dark for decent photographs – these two were the best I managed, and then I put the camera away and concentrated on watching and listening for bats.

 

We all went home late, tired, but happy after a brilliant, informative and fascinating night. And the bat biscuits were scrumptious!

Well, I like the train, and I like Chester…

…but which one is better?

There’s only one way to find out!

No, no, not a FIGHT* but a trip to Chester on the train of course! And it turns out they are both equally good (apart from being sat on the floor in the train corridor on the way home because we happened to land on a very full one that was going all the way to Euston after it dropped us off in Crewe!).

A lovely lie in was a nice way to start the day. I heard the town centre clock strike 8, and then seemingly about 5 minutes later after lots more peaceful slumber, I heard it strike 9. Finally emerged from my bed at about quarter to 10; how blissfully lazy!

Two (oops, I mean One. Two and Three are both with their dad in another city altogether!) and I had a good time using our family railcard for the first time, thus saving about seven quid on the train fare to Chester for the two of us! We pottered about the city; she had a clothes budget for Primark and managed to get some things she really liked (including the snuggliest dressing gown I have ever seen; I’m quite envious!). We had a drink and a muffin in McDonald’s (as that is much cheaper than your average posh coffee shop, hehe!), looked round HMV, Poundland, Wilkinson’s, and a fab independent little shop full of the most amazing ‘alternative’ type clothes – I fell in love with half of them and I think One was in love with all of them! She is already eyeing up beautiful ‘gothy’ type dresses for her year 11 prom!

We got home in time for a bit of college work for me (including signing up for ‘Dropbox’ after someone else on my course recommended it following a disastrous corruption of some of her files on her memory stick which meant she had to write a huge chunk of her assignment again, eek) and a big clothes sort out for One – the ‘deal’ for having the money for clothes today was that she sorted out everything she doesn’t wear any more and got it all out of her room, so that she only has clothes that fit her and that she will wear, in there. A good job well done!

So it has been a day of fun and also productivity! I’ve really enjoyed spending some quality time with my gorgeous oldest daughter. 🙂

And now I am absolutely knackered and fit for nothing but an evening on the sofa! Early night for me I reckon

*With apologies to Harry Hill!

Lessons for living from One, Two and Three

1. Enjoy the view. Even better if you can share it.

2. Stay balanced.

3. Aim high.

4. Hug trees like nobody’s watching.

5. Remember to appreciate the smaller details.

6. Work together and be creative.

7. Leap with gay abandon into everything you do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Immerse yourself in the things that give you pleasure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Above all, enjoy!