There it was….. gone! And what a summer it was! Florence….Womad….Citroens….Weddings….Festivals….Edinburgh….Visitors….Camping….Exam results and even a bit of Chemo! All is good on that front by the way – I had chemo again last Wednesday which went very well. I was a bit tired for a few days but now I am feeling absolutely fine! My consultant is very pleased with me and pointed out that I am now over half way through this treatment which will go on until July 2013. I am down to between 15-30mgs of Morphine twice a day and seem to manage very well on that – so the doc is very pleased with me too! I am only a little bit worried as we go into the colds and flu season (Tom is feeling very grim as I write) but hopefully I shan’t get whatever he has!
It really has been a wonderful summer – I have done as much as humanly possible with my amazing children (who still don’t mind being seen with me even though they are teenagers!) and I know they have both had the best summer too! Dan has been in his element showing off the best car he has ever owned (for this season anyway!) and has had many people marvel about his extraordinary interior restoration skills! Maybe he should change careers?! We have had lots of lovely friends to stay and I have even managed a few arty things just for me…. I am definitely one of the luckiest people on the planet!
So now we are back into a more settled routine of school, college, work and play! I have started college again and I am really looking forward to what will have to be my last year. I am very keen to do some more oil painting whilst I have the opportunity. In fact I intend to make the most of absolutely everything that’s on offer! (no change there then!) We are quite a small cohort this year so I have a nice big space to fill and I wasted no time in making my mark on it, just in case! Big space = Big work! Yippee!
Playing around with a piece of sticky-back vinyl Blue Peter/Matisse style!
Annie’s GCSE results were fantastic and she is now settled in to 6th form doing French, English Lit. Psychology and Media Studies and Tom also has 3 GCSE’s under his belt with a B in Spanish which, at his age, is fantastic! He is now embarking upon the serious 2 year GCSE course and is working hard. He has chosen Music, Art, Resistant Materials and Geography as his options.
Dan has also been working very hard on the lead up to the big Citroen rally for months/years and it still hasn’t stopped! He is now designing a book of the event which means ploughing through thousands of photographs which I think, secretly, he thoroughly enjoys! The ICCCR has taken over his life this year and even took over mine during the event, as it turned out that I wasn’t just organising the catering side of it but ended up desperately trying to organise a bit of everything! My heartfelt thanks go out to my friends, Catherine, Steph and Tamsin who gallantly took over the cleaning of the toilets on the campsite when there was nobody else to do it (thereby hangs a tale which I would really rather forget)! Amazingly, the general consensus of opinion is that it was the best ICCCR ever – Ha! They couldn’t see what was going on behind the scenes!!! Sadly, I had so little time off that I didn’t really get a chance to appreciate and enjoy it, but I do have this one photograph of a lovely gathering with our friends who were there on the Friday where I managed to relax for an hour or two before the next drama unfolded!
A moment's respite with friends in the sunshine!
This was one time when I most definitely did overdo it! It took a couple of weeks to recover and stop hurting – so next time I shall just say NO!!! (remind me!) Dan and the kids had a fantastic time though – Annie was part of the Entertainments crew and had a great time sorting out all the amazing bands, running a lighting rig and a sound desk and even stage-managing which was great experience for her! Tom found his niche serving in Selma’s kitchen and really enjoyed working his socks off. So much so that Selma booked him for another festival so he did well earning lots of money this summer. Dan spent a lot of time on his stand selling his newly designed T shirts and chatting to everyone which is what he loves doing! There was a very good turnout of about 5000 people at the event and we think we even made a small profit! That must be deemed as a success and congratulations must go to all the volunteers who helped make it “the best International meeting EVER”!!! It was a bit tiring though…..
And a good time was had by all!
The summer began with Annie’s 16th birthday in Florence – and what a wonderful time the two of us had! It really is a beautiful city and although it was really hot we coped! We did all the usual things – travelling around on the open-topped tourist bus to castles, museums, art galleries and parks, seeing the most incredible things! We also…. ate a lot! (surprise surprise!) The restaurant that Annie had chosen to have her birthday meal in turned out to be so good that we went back several times! We had the best time!
I have now fulfilled my 2012 New Year’s resolution which was to take both my children away, one at a time and have a very special holiday with them. It was such a success – maybe I should do it every year….. I had better start saving up again! A few pics….
Annie's birthday cake - she was treated like a princess
So many gorgeous Florentine bottoms!!!
Learning how to make the best Tiramisu!
Annie meets Anthony in St Gimignano!
No sooner had we unpacked from Italy than we were packing to go camping at Womad for Tom’s birthday! We were incredibly lucky to get some tickets from our cousins Alan and Libby (via Jean and Victor) as A&L live in the wonderful Charlton Park House where Womad is held. That meant that although we weren’t actually ‘Glamping’ we were camping with the use of A&L’s many bathrooms, their ice machine, tea, coffee and the odd glass of wine! What luxury…. It was Absolutely Fabulous!!!
Heading off for a shower at the 'big house'!
A very imposing residence as you can see!
Wonderful Weather at Womad!!!
Then there was a weekend at Towersey Festival with Debbie and the gang! We met up with Keith and Mick of Reuben’s Train again and are trying to find a date for them to come up to do a gig at the barn early next year – I shall let everyone know when we have decided when! It was another great weekend with Annie whilst Dan was recovering at home and Tom was off working with Selma and Chris again at Galtres Festival. He had such a great time and so did we. Sally and alan were there with the babies and I had a lovely surprise when Sal produced the two little’uns both wearing Annie’s old (hand-knitted by Enid) babygrows. Does anyone remember what we used to call them?
Sophia and Amelie in the famous Arran condoms!!!
Next, in early September it was the boys! My godson, Savino and his friends, Jo and Mitch came up for a few days and filled my kitchen with laughter! We all love having them around and the Johnsons stayed for most of the time too so we had a ball! Every meal there were about 10-12 of us (I did seem to be cooking for a lot of the time) but I loved it of course!
A good time was had by all!
Picnicking in our favourite valley
It was just like 'Swallows and Amazons'!
It took a while for us all to settle back into a routine again as September was so full of exciting weekends! After the boys left we drove up to Edinburgh for Jenny’s 5oth birthday party, visiting John and Juliet in the south west on the way. The journey from Dumfries to Edinburgh was spectacular via the Dalveen pass. It’s definitely worth a special detour to drive that road if you are ever anywhere near! I have promised to take Tom back there one day – he absolutely loved it! Sadly I have no photos but I do have this one with John and Juliet and a Henry Moore at Glenkiln.
Posing with Moore's Standing Figure
Dan in his pride and joy outside Cramond Mill, Edinburgh
We stayed at this great B&B in Cramond where Jenny’s party was. Elaine and Ali, the owners, have since been to stay with us for a couple of nights so we currently have a couple of nights in Edinburgh in the bank! The following weekend was the last camping weekend of the summer (I hope!) and the kids and I had a fantastic time at Fell Edge Festival where we talked, laughed, cooked, danced and all had a surprise haircut from a lovely new friend, Ross! He is a great hairdresser – it was such fun to sit outside a barn, with just the onlookers for a mirror, as he snipped away. I told him he could do whatever he liked with it… and he did! Luckily for me I absolutely love the result!
Feeding the five thousand on the last night!
Recently I made a flying visit to London on my own for a very special birthday… It was Jean’s 80th! She can get a bit side-lined in the birthday department (as she is such a spring chicken in comparison with 97 year old Victor) so I decided to ‘pop in whilst I was passing’ and give her a surprise! And surprised she certainly was!!! Alan and Libby were in on the conspiracy so had made sure there was enough Coq-au-Vin to go around and we had a really fabulous evening with Debbie popping in later on as well! I think that Jean had a very Happy Birthday!
Don't you just love surprises?!
Well folks….. you’ll be pleased to know that’s all for now! Sorry there has been such a long gap but I have been very busy LIVING LIFE!!!! I hope to be seeing some of you soon but I am trying to hunker down a bit now and make some art, in fact I started a big new oil painting at the weekend. I am hoping to have an ‘arty-farty Christmas selling party’ in our new gallery on December 1st. Let me know if you would like to be part of it and put some work on the walls or if you would like to come and see the exhibition…. I shall send out some proper invitations soon!
Lots of love Hx