It’s May…

 

Almost the end of May, to be exact. This month my little nephew turned one year old (and remains absolutely delicious and squishy and wonderful), my sister turns 23 (how is she so grown up), and I am coming to the end of an utterly exhausting month.

Fortunately, there is a Bank Holiday approaching and being the savvy Annual Leave taker that I am, I had the foresight to book the Tuesday and Wednesday off as well. Heather is off home for Half Term so I have Saturday to Wednesday completely free to do anything or nothing, and everything in between.

In my supervision last week, my line manager and I talked about how I always seem to fill my ‘time off’ with busy things. Case in point – the Easter weekend….

I took the Thursday off (before Good Friday) and travelled home on the train on the Wednesday after work. It has been many years since I got the train home to Devon and I have to say, I don’t really miss the travel into London, getting the tube to Paddington, and then the several hours hurtling through the countryside to Plymouth. However…. the technological developments over the last few years have been great and I actually spent most of the journey watching ’13 Reasons Why’ on my phone, thanks to Netflix and a great data package. 18 year old Sarah is very jealous of 28 (almost) year old Sarah!

So, I arrived into Plymouth very late on the Wednesday night (and promptly nearly broke my ankle with my suitcase so had a fetching bruise for a few days). Mum picked me up and I spent the weekend at hers… bed on the floor in the living room, so very little sleep and no chance of a lie-in!! Nice to be home though.

Mum and I spent Thursday looking after the little boy. (When I say ‘little boy’ I am usually referring to Ezra, although possibly I could be referring to our dog Toby who was the ‘little boy’ prior to the nephew’s arrival. It gets confusing now) I walked the dog in the morning and then Rebecca and Simeon brought Ezra over and went off for a date day while I got to enjoy a date day with my squish! Mum usually takes him to a Nursery Rhyme group at a local library on Thursdays so that’s what we did…so cute. Save the local library!!! Ezra seems to go there at least 3 times a week with each of his grandmothers and sometimes my sister takes him too! Then we went for an afternoon tea (Ezra likes scones, who’d have guessed) and completely wore ourselves out looking at ducks.

Friday (Good Friday) we all went to a place called Antony House in Cornwall. It’s a National Trust property with lovely gardens and grounds, which were used for the filming of the newest version of Alice in Wonderland a few years ago. We had a long walk round the gardens and looked at all the flowers etc, had a picnic, and then looked around the house. Again, exhausting.

Saturday – I went down to Cornwall again to spend the day with my little sister Jessica and my stepmum. We all went to Tintagel (a little village with an old ruined castle, reportedly where King Arthur was conceived…or so the 7 year old told me) We had fish and chips, explored the beach and the caves, had a cup of tea in the café and just generally enjoyed time together. After we went back to their caravan in this sweet little caravan park and played word games until I had to go home…. and then I got lost in deepest darkest Cornwall without a satnav and it took several hours to get home. (I was driving Mum’s car since I got the train on Wednesday)

Sunday, Easter Sunday, we had a roast dinner at Rebecca and Simeon’s (which Mum cooked) and I spent the day reading in the sunshine. It was lovely. Mum did a little Easter egg hunt for Ezra… plastic eggs with dinosaur toys in… he squealed a lot which I think meant he liked it!

Monday…. urgh, Monday. Mum and I (and a million others) drove from Plymouth up country. It took us nearly 10 hours to get from Plymouth to Canterbury. Fortunately we were able to share the driving so that helped a lot. We got home early evening and crashed out a bit.

Tuesday, we went to London!!!! We drove to my work to collect my car, since I was going to be driving into London itself and wanted my familiar car. We did London driving!! Across Westminster Bridge, past Tower of London, near the Houses of Parliament. I was very impressed with myself but internally very nervous about it! The reason for our trip was to have Afternoon Tea at a hotel near Kensington (Mothers’ Day treat) and then go to the Classic FM Live Concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Both were lovely, and we walked round Kensington Gardens too, in the sunshine. I think this could be an annual occurrence but only if we’re on public transport next time.

Wednesday, I had another day off work but we were both shattered so we had a restful morning at home and then met up with my brother and sister-in-law for lunch in Canterbury. It was lovely to spend time with them as well, it’s always good to see them when Mum comes up.

And that was my ‘weekend off’. Back to work on the Thursday, Mum drove back to Plymouth and ‘life’ started again.

Not exactly restful. So, this Bank Holiday weekend… have I learned my lesson and not booked anything?! (Have I heck.)

Well, sort of, actually. On Saturday I am having breakfast at a local café with Jonnie and Kate, who are visiting from Bradford, then I have choir rehearsal followed by afternoon tea later. Sunday I have church. That’s it though. No obligations on Sunday afternoon, Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.

It will be nice to rest and recover following a hectic and intense month of May! And maybe one day I’ll finally find the balance between business and restfulness…

-x-

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Back again…this time for good (I hope)

Hello.

I am back again after yet another prolonged blogging break.

To be quite honest, I have thought about writing a blog post countless times (at least once a week) but that has never actually evolved into a physical blog post. I’m sorry if you are following (or lurking) and have been waiting for a post with any kind of anticipation.

The truth is that life has been quite overwhelming lately and I just haven’t known how to put anything into words and not have it turn into a frustrated-at-the-world rant which would a) not achieve anything but prove that I know a lot of angry words, b) be quite unnecessary, and c) not glorify God in the slightest – which is the best reason I can find for having “held my tongue” over the past few months.

As the ever-so-wise Thumper rabbit said:

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Or as the writer of Ephesians said: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)

Plus, everytime I watch the news I am saddened and horrified and humbled that my problems are so insignificant compared to the problems faced by others in the world right now, and I feel a bit ashamed of myself. My problems feel very real to me but I am aware of their insignificance and sometimes that helps me re-focus my prayers where they need to be.

All I seem to do in the last few entries is write a blurby-overview of what has been happening in the long intervals between posts and then make an empty promise to post more frequently. Sorry. I won’t do that again – promise, that is – I am definitely going to blurby-overview my last few months. Beware, many photos ahead!

Here’s what’s new with me:

Home …

Bingley Palace

As of August 1st I am an official resident of the “Bingley Palace” and it is quite lovely. It was a very difficult transition – emotionally, rather than practically (thank you Moving Men!). I found it very difficult to pack all the *stuff* in my sweet little house into boxes and decide what I got to take with me and what had to be donated/stored. I lived with chaos and boxes for weeks and I hated it.

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This is my 11th move in 16 years and for some reason it hurt me more than any of the others. I think because I had really felt that my little house was a gift from God and a chance to finally settle…and it turned out not to be the settling-place. I had to fight not to be angry or annoyed at God for allowing me to feel that connection to the little house, and then letting it be taken from me – instead I had to choose to be incredibly grateful to God for providing the Bingley Palace (it already had the nickname before I got here!) and 2 sweet Christian girls to live with.

I have lived here for almost 4 weeks now and it feels like home. Although I often forget where I live and on several occasions have driven halfway to my old house, I am already seeing the opportunities that God is giving me in this place, and I am beyond pleased to have housemates again. Heather and Emma – you are wonderful already.

Work…

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Ofsted is pending. And that’s all I need to say.

Family…

Jessica newborn

This tiny bundle of gorgeousness starts school next week, and turns 5 in 6 weeks time. I don’t feel like I have had enough preparation for this moment.

Jessica June 2014

This is her on holiday a couple of months ago. She loves Frozen (who doesn’t?!)

I am hoping to go home for a weekend in September to celebrate her birthday. I haven’t seen her since June and it aches.

Other family news is that my sister and brother-in-law graduated University in July. Mum and Abigail drove up to Bangor from Plymouth and Jonathan and I were both able to take time off work to join them for a few days. We were able to watch her graduation on live stream (hats off to Bangor Uni for that!) as there were only enough tickets for Mum and Simeon to sit in the ceremony, but it was very special. It was fantastic to see my little sister get her degree (a FIRST!) and to see the place she has lived in for the past 3 years.

rebecca graduation screenshot

Chester Zoo

We also had a fun day out at Chester Zoo which was equally, but differently, fantastic!

Life in general…

I had a wonderful Bank Holiday weekend, thanks to my incredible friends. I went to visit Rachel and Phil who are now living in Peterborough and expecting their first baby in 4 weeks time. It was a very peaceful few days; lots of tea and cake, board games, movies, and chatting about the baby. I was able to completely shut off from thinking about work and just enjoy re-connecting with my bestest Uni friend. I went to their church on Sunday and it was a really great service. I felt connected to God and enjoyed meeting their friends.

Bank Holiday Monday was a wash-out (torrential rain ALL day) but I didn’t mind because Rosie and I had planned a sewing day, and we spent many happy hours transforming a dress of hers into a skirt. I taught her how to sew on the machine and it was very quaint and civilised. We also watched the film Safe Haven which was traumatic and there were tears shed. If you haven’t seen it, don’t. Or at least make sure you have tissues and a friend handy.

i have a new car! It’s pretty swanky and I rather like it. After the small incident with my Corsa I didn’t feel very confident in driving or parking it – what if something else decided to fail with no warning?! I decided to explore the mystical world of Car Finance and am now the proud sort-of owner of a “Silky Shadow Green” Astra. It feels much larger than the Corsa…the size of a tank in fact – but it is safe and mostly clean (I left a window open by mistake and half a tree got in) and it drives like a dream. So I like it.

I’m getting married.

Jokes! I am still very much single. No, I went to my colleague’s wedding reception – and caught the bouquet! There were only 5 of us (plus a 4 year old) in the running so the odds were pretty good. It is a very pretty bouquet and is still a little bit alive in my living room. 

Long Wedding - bouquet

I’m watching the BAKE OFF!!! I love this programme. It is so calming, despite the baking tragedies which occur. I love the pastel colours and the measuring and the commentary and the contestants little quirks and oddities. I love Norman whose pesto is exotic, and Richard who measures everything, and Chetna who uses so many spices I can almost smell it through the TV. I mostly love Martha because I decided in Week 1 that she was the Christian contestant – and then yesterday I found out that she is! And she goes to a New Frontiers church and is a baker/fundraiser for Teafund which is doubly and tripley awesome. I had hoped to make something from the Bake Off each week…but my excitement waned. I basically didn’t want to make florentines or any kind of biscuit…and then last week’s break week was throughly uninspiring, but watch this space. I am quite pleased with my Swiss Roll from Week 1!

swiss roll

And finally: my current excitement…

Mum and I are going on holiday on Saturday! It is quite alast-minute, but much needed, 5 day/4 night break to Prague in the Czech Republic. A few weeks ago I had a bit of a meltdown and decided I needed to do something radical, like cut off all my hair or get a tattoo, otherwise I would go absolutely crazy with my life. Fortunately my reasonable side kicked in and decided it would be a good idea to book a holiday – so I did! Mum and I fly out of Heathrow at silly-o-clock on Saturday morning and get back on Wednesday evening. We went to Majorca together 2 years ago and it was such a fun time, just the 2 of us.

Sometimes you just need to get away from things for a little while, you know?

I know I said I wouldn’t promise…but I will try to get back into blogging. I do miss it really!! I hope you have enjoyed the little update. It has been a nice way to pass the evening, and a good reminder that despite the stresses and anxieties, there is a lot of GOOD going on in my life.

-x-

 

 

Could I possibly be more tired?!

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Tired puppy has nothing on me

I am so unbelievably tired of this week…of this fortnight, actually. Now that I am feeling a bit better, I realise just how sick I was last week. I still have a stuffy nose and nasty cough which feels like it’s rattling my brain, and gets worse throughout the day (it’s like my lungs get tired of working or something lame like that) I also seem to be temporarily deaf in my right ear so I get worried that I am shouting at everyone because I can’t hear them.

The sad thing is, even with a three day Bank Holiday weekend (where I spent pretty much the whole of Saturday in bed, and did virtually nothing on Monday) I still feel completely wrecked. Like I could do with a couple of days’ extra sleep. I was hoping to have a restful weekend this weekend, and celebrate my birthday on Sunday with friends and peace and quiet, but I have to supervise a contact on Saturday afternoon, I am on-call after probably the most horrifically contentious and busy fortnight of my career so far, and I can’t have Monday off because I have another big paperwork deadline which has crept up on me due to the aforementioned business [and sickness – which I am sure is connected] of the past two weeks.

(I do have Friday booked off…apart from 3 hours or so in the middle of the day where I have a meeting…but Friday seems such a long way away)

Despite being so tired, last night I had an unbelievable case of insomnia which resulted in me getting up at 1am and watching Gilmore Girls on DVD until I felt vaguely sleepy. Which wasn’t until 3.30am.

And then…I woke up this morning and checked my phone…and saw it was 8.19am! I usually get up at 7!! Cue major panics, no bath, getting dressed in about 3 minutes, shoving my hair in a messy ponytail and grabbing a banana for lunch. I got from bed (asleep) to my colleague’s car in 6 minutes flat.

But why was my colleague was picking me up for work, I hear you ask?! Well, because…as if being sick, and overworked, and tired, was not enough –

Yesterday my gearstick broke, while I was driving on one of the busiest roundabouts in Canterbury, during rush hour!!!

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I just couldn’t believe it. Only a few weeks ago I was talking to my mum and saying I was saving up to get my car serviced and sorted out – and I said that as long as it didn’t conk out in the meantime (because I have no money until the end of this month as a result of paying off my moving costs) everything would be fine. So what does my car go and do…?!

But do you know what? I am not freaking out. Actually, more to the point – I am CHOOSING not to freak out.

It would be so easy to curl up in a ball on my living room floor (or potentially in my bed which is cosier and slightly less like a psychotic break) and cry and moan and rant and demand to know why God hates me and why my life sucks and why things are so hard…and I’m not saying I didn’t nearly have a little weep about it all…but:

I am choosing to trust God; my God who loves me, and is in control, and only does good things in my life, and never gives me more than I can handle, and who doesn’t let me down – ever, and who provides everything I will ever need, and who protects me, and who knows exactly how this will all work out.

Did you know that one of the most frequent commands in the Bible is to “FEAR NOT” ?

There is no point in me worrying … because God has it all in hand. He has ME and my life in hand.

Matthew 6: 25 – 34 … Do Not Be Anxious

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow.”

 

It will all be ok…because God loves me and my hope is in Him.

-x-

Evolution of an illness

Last Week
Monday: I woke up coughing and felt a little breathless. Thought nothing of it. Should have paid attention…

Tuesday: Felt absolutely fine but a little stressed out as Panel was scheduled for Wednesday –

Wednesday: Worked until 10.40pm, in an office with no heating, justifying my work for 5 and a half hours. Got home to no hot water, so went to bed cold and very tense

Thursday: Woke up coughing and had a headache. Felt like I’d done a boxercise class – but nope. Later in the day I bit the tip of my tongue so hard it bled for 20 minutes. Not really relevant – I’ve just never bitten my tongue that hard before and didn’t know you could actually do that

Friday: The tip of my tongue was so sore I couldn’t drink tea and it was a really sad day for me

Saturday: A chilled out day, sort of had a lie-in, went to the gym, saw some friends and watched TV. Felt like Saturdays were the most superbly glorious invention ever known.

Sunday: Woke up at 6 to serve at church for 7. Had a coughing fit on the way to my car, and completely spaced out and forgot where I had parked. Walked 500 yards up the wrong road and had to turn around like a numpty and then walk back to where I’d actually parked – 50 yards from my front door. Whilst at church, ran around like I was 3 people in one, feeling super-sonic and then had a chat with a guy who said he was intimidated by my efficiency. Pretty sure this was meant to be a bad thing?

This week
Monday: A very strange day at work where I had zero motivation, really craved chips from the chip shop, and couldn’t figure out for the life of me how to a) open the filing cabinet and b) load the stapler. After work, had eaten dinner and put jammies on by 6pm and throughout the evening felt my throat get scratchier and my head start thumping. Gave up and went to bed at 8.30pm but woke up at 11pm and 3am and felt like death

Tuesday: Possibly the worst day of my career, having to deal with a very serious child protection case. Had a raging sore throat – like tonsillitis, except my tonsils were removed 3 years ago. By the evening I was coughing like someone that smokes 40-a-day and had to go to bed by 9.30pm

Wednesday – cough had progressed to sounding like I was about to cough up a lung, yet still had to supervise a young person leaving a placement. Confronted with a barrage of abuse – it’s hard to respond to being called an “f-ing *itch” when you have next to no voice and can’t breathe without hacking up a lot of gunk. (Lovely, I know) Couldn’t breathe, couldn’t swallow, had a fever and felt like I was made of lead. Call to NHS Direct resulted in a trip to the Out of Hours GP at 10pm. Seriously…10pm! I definitely debated not going to the doctor because it meant staying in regular clothes for the whole evening, and also because it feels silly going to a doctor (based at a hospital) and saying “My throat hurts and I have a cough” – however, Doctor’s words when he looked at my throat: “oh yes, that’s very nasty”, when listening to my breathing: “well it’s not supposed to rattle quite like that”, and when he took my pulse: “I don’t like the look of that”. Quickly handed a prescription for a double dose of amoxicillin and filled with confidence…more like convinced I’m gonna die of pneumonia. Only managed to get to sleep by hugging a hot water bottle to my chest and woke up at 3am not entirely certain of where I was.

Thursday: Everyone at work said I needed to go home. Everyone I spoke to on the phone asked if I was alright and then suggested their own home remedies to fix me. I didn’t go home. I went to a meeting, because if I hadn’t, we would have looked bad. Workaholic? Yes. Coughed my way through the meeting and felt thoroughly elegant, trying to discreetly hide the yucky gunk in a hanky or a tissue. Asked repeatedly if I wanted more water – could tell they all wanted to spray disinfectant so they didn’t catch my lurgy. Coughed so much it hurt in my shoulders – do you know that feeling? It’s so not pleasant. Finished work after the meeting at 3.30pm and was in jammies by 5. Discovered Otrivine spray and managed to sleep for 8 hours straight for the first time in what felt like ages.

Friday: woke up feeling a bit like a human again, until I woke up and had a coughing fit resulting in throwing up a heck of a lot of green gunk. (Sorry if you’re squeamish, but you made it this far) Unsurprisingly, felt pretty shockingly awful when I got to work but the day improved when my colleague did a run to the chip shop and I got the chips I’d craved on Monday! Also had a saveloy for the first time ever…not an experience I’ll repeat. Made it through the day feeling that I must now, officially, be a grown up – having made it through a fairly hellish week of work despite my body attacking me

Let’s hope Saturday and Sunday are good days. I plan to lie on the sofa, or in bed, and watch One Tree Hill and Gilmore Girls on DVD. Monday is a Bank Holiday and I really want to go and see Gatsby…which shall be my reward if I actually manage to rest for 2 whole days and take my antibiotics at the right time (I keep forgetting).

Off to bed now…every night this week I’ve been in bed before the sun has gone down and tonight is no exception.

-x-

May

May has arrived, and brought Spring with it. I am so happy to have sunshine and blue skies back in my life! My new house is across the street from a church, which has beautiful trees in the churchyard, and out the back of my house just beyond my garden is another one. In just a week it’s gone from barely green to bright and lovely. No matter where I am in the house, if I look out the window there’s a tree. And we all know I love trees 🙂

I can’t believe I’ve only been in my little house for a week. It has felt like home since day one. This weekend my Mum has been to visit, since it’s a long Bank Holiday weekend. We’ve been very busy – we went shopping, and to an interactive exhibition by the Philharmonic Orchestra at my University, we went out for tea and pastries, and tea and cake, and dinner with my brother and his girlfriend, we read books, we went to church and to the garden centre, and to Dunelm Mill where we bought a rug and curtain for the house, and then to lots of shops to buy plants for the garden – we did all sorts! Lots of little adventures that mean nothing to most people but oh-so-much to me.

I am so tired now…Mum left a few hours ago to drive back to Plymouth and I have just crashed out on the sofa.

It was so lovely to have her here. I love spending time 1-1 with my mum. Yesterday and this morning we cleared my garden and planted things. We pulled down so much Ivy that 2 bricks came out of the dividing wall and I got a little scared. I mean, I like my neighbours (a couple I know from church) but I don’t really want to share a garden…or lose my security deposit. So we left some of the Ivy there and just tidied up around it.

Tonight I am going to see Olympus Has Fallen with a bunch of people from church. There is a cinema about half an hour away called the Carlton, and it is the most delightfully quaint cinema I have ever been in. It reminds me of the very old Odeon that used to be in Plymouth City Centre. My dad would take us there to watch Disney movies and other kids films. We saw Mighty Joe Young there, and it was the first film to make me cry.

The best thing about the Carlton is that it’s only £2.50 on a weeknight! It’s £3.50 on weekends and for an extra £1 any day you can upgrade to a “lounge seat” (not that I ever have) and even though the popcorn and sweets are quite overpriced, even when I went to see Les Mis and paid the online booking fee, and bought popcorn and minstrels, I still spent less than £10. You can barely get change from a £10 note when you go to see a film at Ashford Cineworld, or Canterbury Odeon, or Westwood Vue. The Carlton has so much more in terms of character too. It’s in a very little seaside town and only has three screens, with the max seating probably being 300 people. Teeny tiny, but sweet and wonderful. I’m looking forward to it.

In the meantime, would you like to see photos of my house? Of course you would, because it’s very exciting. Except, I’m sorry – because you can’t. For some reason my laptop will not let me upload any pictures from my phone. I could upload to a new post if I used my phone but it takes so much longer to blog from a smartphone.

Oh heavens. First world problems or what.

I feel like I need a nap. I certainly need to change the load in the washing machine (it stopped 1/2 hour ago) Doing nothing for a few hours is just what I need after a very busy and full weekend of wonderful nice things with my mumma. Hooray for May.

-x-

ps. Pictures as soon as I can!

Prince William and Catherine Middleton

ROYAL WEDDING!!!!!

This is the first Royal Wedding of my generation and I am SO excited – I’ve been up since 8am wathing the coverage on BBC, and it’s just amazing 🙂

Days like this make me very proud to be British. I love that we have a monarchy, and that even in this era when the world is worried about wars and famine and poverty (which we of course should be concerned about) we can still be happy for our future King and his bride.

One of my earliest memories was watching all the coverage when Princess Diana died, and I remember seeing Princes William and Harry walking down behind the funeral cars…I was only little, but these are the things that you remember, aren’t they – and I’m feeling very patriotic and excited that we are getting our future Queen today.

Yay for Prince William and Catherine Middeton 🙂