Friday, 31 October 2008


Emily plumped for her usual witches costume for Halloween tonight. Here she is preparing to go out into the cold, wet and windy evening - needless to say she and Mummy didn't venture far and were soon warming themselves with milk and cookies by the fireside, counting their treats!

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Spam Fritters

I'm over the worst of my chest and sinus infection now - all that remains is a really raw chest when I cough. The antibiotics did their trick of killing every bit of bacteria in my system - which for a 'normal' person would be great, but for me killing all of the bacteria in my guts has a really bad effect on my Crohn's symptoms (The antibiotics wipe out all of the good bacteria too!) so I'm frantically trying to replace the good guys with Yakult and Bimuno powder!! So far though things seem to be okay (touch wood!)

There is one scurge of the modern world that can't be knocked out with antibiotics unfortunately - I'm talking about Spam, or more importantly Spammers. What goes through a spammers head when he joins a blogging service like Blogger and then wastes hour after hour writing non-sensical responses that bear no relation to the post he is responding to?

I had one from "John" recently - who on checking his profile seems to have joined Blogger in August 2008 - John had responded to a recent ABC post with a long list of website addresses where I might find items such as Viagra and sex toys - completely useless to me, so naturally I deleted his comment (After printing off the list for a colleague)

So, I have been forced to enable word verification on comments to this blog - apparently this will put off any self respecting spammer. My apologies to all genuine commenters.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Post # 100 = The Last Bloom of Summer

As British Summertime officially ends next week here's the last bloom from our garden which is already looking like it's settled down for the winter.

Autumnal Art

I'm suffering from a severe bout of bronchitis and infected sinusitis at the moment. My face feels like it's going to implode and my chest feels as rough as the proverbial badger's behind so what better way to avoid the disappointment of not being able to go out than to spend the day crafting leaf pictures from all of the autumn leaves currently littering our lawns.
Emily loves to craft! And it passed a good few hours whilst waiting for the painkillers to kick in!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

ABC Wednesday 'M' is for...

(It might be a dump, but it's my dump!!)
The Town Hall from Centre North East
An unusual view of our Transporter Bridge - one of only two in the UK (The other is in Newport, Wales)
The once mighty Dorman Long Steel Works - whose crowning glory must surely have been the construction of this...
Have you guessed what it is yet?? Click here to reveal all
And here's the plaque to reveal all..
And finally, a little known fact about Middlesbrough Football Club..
The Legendary - Wilf Mannion
Do you see the red circle Middlesbrough Crest in the background? There were two (now replaced with Middlesbrough's new Shield logo) and I helped make them!!
Originally this crest contained the year of the club's rescue by chairman Steve Gibson (1986). I was responsible (in a previous employment) for cutting and laying out the enormous crests (about 3metres in diameter) prior to them being sent for spraying - I excluded the 1-9-8 and 6 from the process as rumour had it that Steve Gibson was trying to get the club to look forward rather than back and wanted the year of Middlesbrough's bankruptcy removed. I still have the unpainted aluminium numerals - God knows why!!
Oh, and one other thing - the famous Wembley Arch - constructed by local firm Cleveland Bridge - has hundred's of Middlesbrough FC items stuffed in its girders and tubing - scarves, gloves, footie tops, programs etc - the workers' way of saying that Middlesbrough will always be at the heart of Wembley!!
(And probably the only way Middlesbrough will ever get back to Wembley!!)
For more magical M's visit the ABC Wednesday Blog

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Happy Girthday to Me!!

Yesterday was my 43rd birthday and, as my Crohn's seems to have been settled for a few weeks, the lovely Lesley decided it was time for a treat. My favourite! Chocolate Cake with all the buttercream and chocolate flakes you could wish for. Just a small one ("enough to serve 8" the box said - though these must surely have been tested on very small people with even smaller appetites, or perhaps eight people who didn't much care for scrummy chocolate cake!) Needless to say I dived straight in immediately after Lesley took the following picture........
Obviously nothing to do with overeating and more to do with steroids, but me thinks it's time I lost a bit of weight!!! (I never, EVER thought I'd hear myself saying that!) Fitness regime begins....
............just as soon as the rest of the cake is consumed!
Happy Birthday to me....happy birthday to me....

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

ABC Wednesday 'L' is for...

After a bit of a break I'm very pleased to be back with some considerable measure of....
Love. Pure and simple love.
(Something I've been missing of late.)
For more ABC posts on the letter J please visit The ABC Blog.

Sunday, 5 October 2008


My apologies to anyone viewing the last three or four posts, and my thanks for the replies.

Pure self indulgent self pity I'm afraid - but it needed to be said and I feel better for having said it. I countered every one of the 'down' points with a positive one last night and realised just how lucky I am. Now all I have to do is get this positivity across to Lesley - that should be no mean feat!!

I can see now how very easy it would be for me to slip into a state of total despair and depression. Dwelling on the down points of my life for the past few weeks has been very easy. Finding the good took a lot longer - I really had to search hard for them, but they are there and although I have to say the good 'list' is much shorter than the down 'list' it's quality, rather than quantity that counts in these things.

Thanks again for your words of support - they did make me reassess things.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Is it any wonder...

Lesley and I sat down for a long chat last night about our current situation.

We married in 1993 and spent the first ten years working (both of us) to sustain a lifestyle that we wanted (at the time) and we became completely dependant upon each other emotionally, spiritually and financially. We never saved. We lived for the day and enjoyed a relatively comfortable lifestyle. We couldn't invest in a house on a newer estate as Lesley, who doesn't drive, needed to be close to her mother, so we bought the house we're living in now in 1997. Since then the area has become depressingly 'depressed'. We've never taken a holiday abroad, or anywhere else for that matter, in all our married life. Not because we couldn't afford to, it was just our choice to spend our time 'doing up' the house with the odd trip into the local countryside thrown in for variety.

When our Daughter arrived five years ago it seemed that the jigsaw was complete. But Lesley started showing signs of anxiety within hours of the birth. This escalated, untreated, to the situation described here. It became so bad that in the end Lesley could not return to work - she tried hard to do so, but the anxiety would win, or circumstance would. I became the sole bread-winner - luckily my job paid enough for us to do this - and Lesley stayed at home, something she did not adapt well to. Family situation is not good - I have no-one and Lesley only has her aged mother to help with childcare. We have no friends locally. So, from day one, it was down to us to do everything for our girl. Lesley didn't want to put her in a nursery - I disagreed. I thought it would help Lesley get to know people (other mums) and also give Emily the early care and social interraction she would need later, it would also give Lesley a break from home. We went, once, to a local mother and baby playgroup and were apalled at the state of the place and it's occupants. So snobbery won the day and we never took her back. The same happened when Emily began school. It was filthy, some mothers would drop their children off in their pyjama's (the mothers not the children) I've even witnessed one young mother (in pyjama's and an overcoat) smoking and coughing up phlegm onto the infant's playground - the area where my daughter would be expected to play later. I witnessed this from the car, so couldn't get to her to say anything, had I been there I would have done so - and probably got a mouthful of abuse - but some things have to be said. Emily too reacted badly to the environment. She became withdrawn and seemed to get illness after illness. She was not happy, and so we took her out of school to home educate.

And so we found ourselves, late last night, discussing where it had all gone wrong.

We're getting into a mindset of misery. We hate where we live but cannot move. Lesley misses a working life but cannot get a job. We all reacted badly to Emily's school and we can't find one that we feel would suit her sensitive nature. The credit crunch has had its effects too, where once my wage provided a comfortable living, we now find ourselves cutting back and back. With no family or friends in the area we are the sole providers of care for Emily - we also try our best, but realise our limitations, as far as her education is concerned.

With no 'us-time' or 'me-time' our relationship has suffered immensely and we find ourselves rowing more and more about petty little things. We want Emily to go back to school - but a decent, clean school where parents and teachers alike care for the children - we've looked but can't find one (perhaps we're too picky or snobby for our own good - or perhaps we just expect basic standards of hygiene and care which none of the schools local to us seem to offer.) We want Lesley to get a job, even for a few hours a week, just to get her out of the house and interracting with adults rather than focusing on a child. We want some 'us-time' back, where we can go out to a movie or for a meal once in a while.

So, is it any wonder we find ourselves in this rut of depression?

Well, yes frankly. Our lives have been enriched by Emily. We should be relishing this time surely?