Caledonia


You’d have to be on another planet for you not to know that the people of Scotland are on the verge of a life changing historical event.  Yesterday the streets of Aberdeen were buzzing.  It looked like a scene from Braveheart.  The atmosphere was electric, the young, the old, everyone was singing and dancing and having a good time.  My camera and I even got a wee dance. 

It made me wish I liked football.  Was this the feeling people had at football matches?  It also reminded me of Hogmanay, a time when everyone is happy.
For many, national pride is in your blood; you just feel it.  I certainly can’t listen to bagpipes without getting emotional.  Och it would bring a tear to a glass eye!

I know I'm probably not alone in saying that I don't fully understand the inns and outs of the whole referendum debate.  I've even heard people saying they are voting no because they don't like Alex Salmond, which is like not buying your dream home because you don't like the wall paper.  

What I do know is things are not great as they are.  We've already got different laws compared to England, some are better here some are better there.  So when they speak about breaking the union, there are a lot of things that's broken away already.  

It feels like we've got into a situation where we've threatened to leave just like you would maybe do in a bad relationship and if you threaten to leave, and don't, you just look stupid.  If we vote no, I've no doubt we'll suffer.  I guess there is always the Unicorns farting glitter chance, that maybe the threat will make them see sense and we’ll live happily ever after.

All we can do now is wait.

My Love My Life 8/12 - Reflection


The topic Reflection when photography related, usually suggests pictures of subjects seen on reflective surfaces like windows or water.  I decided to be a bit out of the box this month and make mine reflection on a life event.  Daisy's first day at school.

It’s August 2014 and it feels like the last five years has been put on fast forward.  It's hard to get my head around the fact all this time has flown by.  We get caught up in the daily grind of life and it doesn’t leave much time for fun.  Now, we are here, at the school gate.  I seriously thought I would cry on her first day at school, but surprisingly I held it together.  She looked so grown up.  I think my biggest wobble was actually when I got the leaflet before summer telling me who her teacher was going to be.  It hit home then. I felt a little emotional buying her school uniform.  I know normal school shoes are usually black but I so love the traditional red patent shoes, she had to have a pair!  I kitted her out in a Cath Kidston bag, pencil case and stationary.  After all, this is a monumental time in our life together and the perfect time to indulge.

Three little friends from our street started school together and I couldn't be happier.  Although they are not all in the same class, they will see each other at playtime and lunchtime.  Daisy will be going to what we are calling the "school cafe", which to everyone else, is school dinners.  I really enjoyed that part of school since I was a traditional eater.  I wasn’t really interested in sandwiches, fruit and yoghurt, which is usually the kind of thing you would expect in a packed lunch.  Ok, I had the odd plea to my mum to have that but in most cases it was just curiosity on how the packed lunch kids spent their lunch hour.  We always want what we don’t have but the reality of getting it usually isn’t that great long-term.  For me, eating a hot school dinner with my fellow classmates was a social occasion and I'm hoping Daisy will appreciate that time to dine and chat with friends.  

School has been a positive experience so far.  We’ve had PE and homework.  We’ve managed to remember to put a snack in Daisy’s bag for break time.  We’ve even been to the school nurse when she fell and cut herself on her third day.  We are on our last week of half days and next week she is going to be in school all day.  I worry like everyone else with children starting school.  I worry if she will manage to fasten her shoes on her own as I still give help at home when she says “I can’t, it’s to difficult”, but she can do it.  I’m surprised she is able to carry her school bag, as it just looks so big compared to her body.  She doesn’t really chat much about what goes on in school during the day but make no mistake she doesn’t miss a trick.

I’ve met two really great girls since moving, who as well as being my neighbours they are also friends.  There’s never been any nervousness about the whole school event because our girls have played together in our almost cul-de-sac street for sometime.  I'm glad Daisy and I moved house and met new friends.  After all, nothing is scary when you share the experience with some great friends.

Please pop over to Sarah's blog on Reflection of her photography journey.  I love Sarah's photos, they always have a mystical feeling as well as creating the impression you were there.







Crime of Passion

This time ten years ago I was on my way to the hairdresser.  I got married that day to someone I loved deeply.  I thought marriage was forever, but there's always some smarmy buck teeth tramp out there willing to screw it all up.  We all know one!

Mum dropped off a copy of Hello magazine to me the other day.  She thought I would find the interview they did with the former glamour model Katie Price interesting.  I know there are a lot of people who don’t like her very much namely because of her outrageous outfits and bold as brass attitude.  But me, I think she speaks a lot of sense and this interview was no different. 

She says it how it is.  What’s wrong with that?  That type of personality can be seen as a bit of a threat.  But it is what it is, a personality trait.  It doesn’t mean the person is nasty, malicious or awkward.  That is just who they are.  I always think these types of people make the best of friends because lets face it, they’re unlikely to be false and you’ll know exactly where you stand.  I bet she’s really lovely.  I empathise with her.  Just because you have money and success does not make you immune to bad things happening.  Only this week the much-loved actor Robin Williams died suddenly, in an alleged suicide.  There’s a prime example of someone who appeared to have it all.  Life is cruel.  As human beings we suffer the same heartache.  Emotions are indiscriminate.

Katie talked about her husband’s recently uncovered infidelity with two of her close friends.  Katie was very open and honest about her feelings regarding the situation.  Describing how “her heart hasn’t been broken, it’s been shattered”.

There are lots of things you would want to know.  What exactly happened. You need to know the truth.  Then and only then can you make a decision about what to do next.  You need all the facts. It seems she believes his account of events and with Katie being a woman of means she’s in a position to deal with things a bit differently to us mere mortals.  She said in the interview that she organised for her husband to have a polygraph test, just like they do on The Jeremy Kyle Show.  She wanted to know everything. How many times it happened, where it happened, when did it start.  All questions any wronged person would have racing through their head, but could you actually believe what you were being told by the guilty party if you wasn’t in a position to get one of these tests.  I suspect not and it would constantly be on your mind.  Visualising the pair of them ripping each other’s clothes off and having sex.  Was it in your bed, in your car, who else knew about it, who else was keeping the secret?  You would be spitting nails.

She also commented that she couldn’t understand why he would even want to have sex with two older women who were “rank”.    I suspect there are many theories on why someone would do that.  Likely story is, they were easy.  We all know blokes are trouser dumb but it's these ladies of ill repute that really know the lines they're crossing. Imagine being that desperate for attention you had to make do with the crumbs of someone else’s relationship.   Why would you not want to be the star of the show, the leading lady. Why would you be happy in the knowledge you were someone’s dirty secret.  You'd have to be a bit thick.  Why would you prey on someone that is married or married with children or like Katie married with a child on the way.  How could they be so cruel to the innocent victims.  Helping create a situation whereby children don't see the guilty parent as much as they used to.  Meanwhile the other spouse has had their life turned completely upside down and grieving for the life they thought was already planned out.  To be snatched away by a foolish act of greed.  Who does that?  Someone with No Moral Compass, that’s who.

Could you really ever trust someone who’s been unfaithful, not once, but twice and however many other times you don’t know about.  Without everyone coming clean, that situation will never right itself; it will be like a wound that never heals.  Who knows how long it will last between them.   I believe that once the relationship has been poisoned like this, I expect it won’t be a happy ending.  She maintains they are still husband and wife and this is a marital issue.  Something they must sort out together.  What we do know is that Katie is very switched on, so I hope she knows what she’s going to do next.  

If you ever find yourself on the verge of getting into a similar situation, I urge you to stop and think.  This type of behaviour carries a heavy psychological burden for everyone affected, accept the third party.  I'm a firm believer they feel nothing, because in some weird twisted way they don't think they've done anything wrong.  They feel no shame.


So I guess this "tin" of Alphabet Spaghetti is on me.  Your dinner is on the table!  Happy Anniversary.

Nursery Graduation

It’s the end of an era.  Nursery is finished and school is on the horizon.  I’m not sure how much Daisy understands about school and how it will be different to nursery.  She knows her teachers name and that she will be having lunch in the “school café”.

We had two nursery graduations with Daisy going to both school and a privately funded nursery.  All the friends she met in school nursery will form part of her Primary one class.  However the children at private nursery, well she’ll most likely never see them again.  That made me a little sad. 

Daisy had a similar start to my own childhood.  We moved house right at the time I was going to nursery.  Mum couldn’t get me into the catchment school nursery where our new house was so I continued at my old nursery before joining my school class in primary one.  I have vague memories of a little blonde haired boy who I was friendly with, I think his name was Paul.  I recall a photograph of my nursery class but sadly it seems to have gone missing.  When I saw it last I didn’t see Paul in the photo.  Who knows what happened.  Maybe he was off that day.  Maybe it's so long ago I didn't remember things correctly.

Thirty years later I found myself in a similar situation where Daisy had two sets of friends and had struck up a good friendship with a little boy in her privately run nursery.  I imagined when nursery was over Daisy asking me to invite Ewan to her birthday parties and me not knowing where he lived.  She often asks if he can come over to our house to visit.  Sometimes the best friendships start when you are really young.  Could I risk Daisy not seeing him ever again, absolutely not!  

Imagine everyday your child and another child are in nursery together, that they played with each other the entire time.  Dressing up in costumes.  Running around holding hands.  Spotting each other at the swimming baths on days off and being so excited to see each other.  One child, waiting at the door for the other to arrive on their allotted day.  This was the story that was relayed to my mum or I by the staff every week.  Later, I found out the same stories were being relayed to his parents.  Daisy and Ewan are best of friends.  Daisy often tells me she is going to marry Ewan and I know Ewan talks about Daisy a lot.  Now that is a friendship worth nurturing.     
   
Ewan’s mum and I made contact with each other for the first time recently and we introduced ourselves at the graduation ceremony.  We talked about meeting up over the school holidays and shortly after we organised a lovely day out at a local play barn.  We laughed exchanging stories about the things nursery had reported back to us over the past few years.  Some of the things would make you laugh so hard you couldn’t breathe.  We drank slush puppy, we shared slush puppy when someone drank all hers!  Ewan’s sister Ellie kept a tight reign on the jelly tots sweets, only handing one over to her mother.  Exactly the sort of thing Daisy would do to me.  On the way out Daisy gave Ewan a big kiss goodbye and we all laughed at how funny they are together.  I’m glad this story has a happy ending because now we know Ewan lives close by and we can stay in touch.  So it’s not goodbye, not this time, it’s until the next time.  See you soon Ewan. x
   


                      

My Love My Life 7/12 - Water

Last month I was away to Brighton for the weekend, four days later I was jet setting again with Daisy.  I just had so much on my plate I couldn't think about blogging.  I wasn't even sure I was going to be ready for this month but our recent heat wave has made it possible to grab some photos in amongst the school holiday madness.

We went to a swimming pool that I haven't been to since I was a child.  Stonehaven Open Air Pool.  I must say my childhood memories were somewhat different to how it is now.  I recall the last time I was there.  It was a cold day, the pool was freezing and I have vague memories of shivering and being generally miserable.  When my mum mentioned it was open for the summer; I felt a wave of dread.  I also found myself snorting at the thought of Daisy having to suffer just like I did.  It's a right of passage and what every other child in the surrounding area has to endure as a youngster, I thought to myself. 

We arrived around lunchtime and Daisy soon found some friends to play with.  She even knew one of the kids from her nursery.  I swear she knows more people than me!  The children's pool gave her more independence to play on her own.  She was having a great time catching the water out of the Dolphin fountain.  She must have been in the pool for over an hour before being beckoned out for a hot dog that I bought her from the cafe.  You don't have to buy everything from the café. There are various options to consider.  I saw a few families with their own picnics.  The cafe has a service hatch at the poolside and a seated area near the entrance.  Serving burgers, hot dogs, chips, ice-cream, sandwiches and hot and cold drinks.  There's something for everyone.

The main pool is huge.  There's a water slide at the deep end, which Daisy was disappointed that she couldn't go on because she can't swim yet.  The swimming lessons are in progress so I'm sure it won't be long until the water wings are a distant memory.  They also have an inflatable assault course that spreads across the width of the pool for the kids to scramble across.  It looked like a whole bunch of fun.  Since I'm on IV antibiotics again, it gave me a chance to have a seat and soak up the atmosphere instead.

My thoughts on Stonehaven Open Air Pool now?  It was brilliant!  Lovely weather, couldn't complain.  Daisy was splashing about in the glorious sunshine just like our holiday last month.  It has certainly helped erase the old memories and created new ones.  If you are fairly local and haven't yet been you must, or if like me you have bad memories from childhood you need to revisit.  If you get the nice weather I promise you will not be disappointed.

Don't forget to pop over and read the blog from Karen of K Lou Photography.  Here she talks about childhood memories and shows you the best things in life are free.


My Love My Life 5/12 - I want to Be


I want to be RICH!  How many of us say that.  There's probably hundreds of things I would like to be, but I guess the important ones usually fall into three categories.  Happiness, Health and Wealth

If you and your family had all three your life would be sorted right?  Lets talk about the least important one, money.  Now, some may think hey, wait a minute that’s the most important.  Reality check, if you are a sad Susan and your general health is not great, no amount of money is going to fix that. You may think it would, but deep down you are who you are.

Take a handful of lotto jackpot winners, do any of them still have most of their winnings. How many are still together with their spouse or partner.  How many have totally screwed up and made an arse of it.  Probably quite a few!  They say money doesn't bring you happiness, but what it does bring is choice.  Imagine being able to choose what you do everyday instead of having to get up and go to work.  If you want to have money, the thing you must actually master is good decision making because without that you will likely fail.  

I think you'll find that most people that do have lots of money are very ruthless. Probably the reason they have it in the first instance.  Money is a dangerous commodity; it can change people.  Some it may enhance their lives, other it will ruin theirs.

If you are a person, whose main focus in life is to be rich, you are an equally ruthless character.  Blinded by the pursuit of perceived wealth, they will do whatever they see necessary to get their hands on some cash.  Like, the duplicitous women that bait married men in the hope of getting a cut of the family fortune.  Yes it happens.  We read about it all the time and it’s not just a problem for the rich and famous.  For some, money and success is so important they dismiss the feelings of others.  They forget to be grateful for what they have.  

It would be nice to not have to think about money, but the reality is most people work for years hoping to get to that position.   Sadly, as you earn more, you want more and you'll never get to the point where you don't have to work.  It is easy to say money can't buy happiness.  For some people struggling financially it can seem like that is the missing part of the jigsaw.  I get that.  I think most people believe it’s the answer to their problems.  Most people want to be rich.  Guess what, it's not going happen.  Sorry to be blunt.  
If you take one thing from this blog post it should be this.  Be thankful for the air that you breathe because you know what, some people struggle doing that.  Be thankful we live in a fairly civilised country.  People around the world don’t have enough to eat.  Some are living in war zones, others are drinking sewage water exposing themselves to serious health issues.  Look around you at things you have which money can't buy.  That's what makes you truly rich.  And, as my mother would say “there are people a lot worse off than yourself.”

Please pop over to my good friend Evy's blog, where she talks about her hopes and dreams for her two beautiful girls. Click here


The Second Trimester



So much happened in the second trimester, some great, some extremely stressful and scary.  Turkey was good for me, just the break I needed and lets face it, I probably wasn’t going to get another for a few years.  This blog is a direct follow on from The twelve week scan

My mum has friends in Turkey, they live on a farm way up in the hills far away from the regular tourists.  It’s pretty basic, almost like Roma villages you see on television.  We stayed for the night and I was really cautious I didn’t eat anything.  There’s all these lists in the western world about what you can and can't eat while pregnant, but in places like Turkey you eat what you have and milk comes straight from the cow.  I slept on the only bed they had in the house, under a mosquito net that my mum had purchased for them a few years earlier.   I lay on the bed listening to bugs flying about and it made me feel really grateful for the life style we sometimes take for granted here in the UK. 

Once home the hospital appointments started up again.  I was seen frequently, usually every two weeks. We were a little upset that my husband missed the twelve-week scan but being seen and scanned again at fourteen weeks made us feel happy.  I actually felt really good in this trimester.  I had loads of energy, no morning sickness and I was out buying or looking at baby bits and bobs every chance I had.  I started a Pilates class early in my pregnancy and when my stomach started to grow too big I found a pregnancy yoga class.  I wanted to be in the best possible shape for what lay ahead.  I also had to think about parting with my beloved pink smart car. My favourite car ever!  We planned a little holiday to Cornwall, driving about and exploring was just the thing we loved doing.  My cousin who lives down that way was seven months pregnant and I thought it would be nice to go visit her, you know so we could compare bumps.  It‘s somewhere I’d always wanted to visit and it was scorching hot, just like being abroad.   My husband was a bit of a Rick Stein fan so we were definitely going to visit Padstow.  It was so lovely, we knew we’d return one day with Daisy in tow.  I bought her first toys in a Rick Stein boutique; at £40 each for some crochet rabbits Daddy Bear needed a little persuasion.  I will treasure the memories of that grumpy face, so to make him feel even better; I bought a bloody cake stand too!

I was really looking forward to starting my first antenatal classes but unfortunately, my dreams of a “normal” delivery were shattered when I was diagnosed with Placenta Praevia.  It can correct itself as the pregnancy develops and plans can change right through pregnancy from one week to the next.  I soon needed another course of IV antibiotics, as my body wasn’t coping.  My CF team were voicing concerns about a vaginal delivery knowing I was struggling to breathe and I resigned myself to the reality that I was going to have a planned caesarean section.  There were a lot of mixed emotions around this time because of the worry surrounding the various tests that are carried out to determine major birth defects.  This included the 20-week scan, which we were looking forward to, but there is always that worry we would find out there was something wrong.  By this time you look pregnant, you have accepted you are going to have a baby.  I could not imagine finding out there was some serious birth defect at this point.  How would we deal with that.  I remember my mum trying to explain years ago that your thought process is completely different when the baby is inside you.  I had casually said in my teens that I wouldn’t keep a baby it if had something major wrong with it.  I used to think a cleft lip was major defect and that I’d never keep a baby with that.  I guess our beliefs change with time as we mature.  We came home with another handful of scan photos and there was a really cool one showing her curled up in a ball showing all of her spine.  The lady said that was the best possible picture you could get to check the spine was normal.  

Even though I was clearly unwell at times, I loved being pregnant and our happiest times as a couple since the early years of marriage were around this pregnancy.  As I started to get bigger I suffered from leg cramps and foot cramps.  I think it’s pretty normal, but it was scary at the time.  So many changes is happening in your body and being ill I worried if it was normal or was it just something that was happening to me.  I had a good run of weeks feeling well so we organised a family meal with my late father in law and his parents.  I even went out and bought a new maternity dresses for the occasion.  I was feeling really good.  I wasn’t that close to my extended family.  Relationships were somewhat strained, but I was slowly trying to accept that not all families are like your own.  My husband was supportive of my beliefs and I was going meet him halfway in being more tolerant of the situation for the sake of our little family.


 
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