Tag Archives: family

Old year, new year

Yes I’ve been fairly rubbish at updating, yes lots of things have happened. And yes, right now, as much as there is more to life, I can’t help focussing on the fact that three weeks from tomorrow we will be getting married.

This is one year where I’m not looking back thinking about the things I want to change. I’m not sitting on the verge of the new year thinking what I will do differently or hoping to say goodbye to the bad parts of this year. That’s not to say there haven’t been down times and uncertainties, but that there isn’t anything I would wish away or want to forget.

I’m not very good at new years resolutions. To me, the idea of promising myself I will eat healthier, exercise more, pray more regularly or achieve everything I haven’t so far is both a recipe for letting myself down and something which doesn’t need to coincide with New Year. If I was going to be able to do any of those things I would, whether its January 1st or any other time of year! For me, the significance of the date is more to do with being able to look back at everything I’ve done, and look forward to what is to come. I like the idea of the origin of January coming from the god Janus, who looks both backward and forward, embracing the past and the future.

So tonight I will be looking at the past year and giving thanks. To the people who have shared it, to friends and family, new and old. At new life coming and those which have ended, at celebrations of great events and the mundane everyday-ness of normal life. To all of you, you know who you are, thank you. For being part of it all. And I will be looking forward to what will come. New adventures, a new family, and who knows what else? And right now, the wedding is the big thing on the horizon. Understandably, it is probably the biggest thing I have done in my life so far. And I’m so excited 😀

Anyway, before I get too carried away, I wish you all a very happy new year, for this evening and for the year to come. May it bring you all you need, that you will be able to look back at it this time next year with joy and thankfulness.

With thanks for 2010, and looking forward to everything 2011 will bring.

Difficult weekend

Apologies that this is quite an un-cheery blog. I don’t know that I know where to start. This weekend was not up there with the best.

On Friday we set off for Swansea from Reading, motoring happily down the M4. Somewhere just beyond Bath we had a tire blow out. In the outside lane of the motorway. At rush hour. We noticed something wrong with the car, rattling noises and then major swerving across the lane, at which point Chris braked, and before we knew what had happened we had spun round 180 degrees and smacked the passenger side into the central reservation. We ended up sitting in the middle of the motorway facing the wrong way, which was a tad unnerving! We’re both fine though, the only effect on us was a bump on my elbow where the bone met the car door quite forcefully. For a number of reasons, not least of which very very good luck, the accident wasn’t as bad as it could have been. The traffic was slower so we weren’t going as fast as we might have been, there was a temporary central reservation with a band of gravel next to it which slowed us down completely so we didn’t hit it at that much speed. And it all happened just between the Bath and Bristol junctions so we were near to Chris’ parents house, where we got towed once the recovery van turned up. The amusing moment was once the highways agency people had stopped the traffic and got us back to the hard shoulder, they announced they would just ‘clear the motorway’, produced what looked like large brooms, and proceeded to sweep the M4 in front of 3 lanes of traffic!! In the end, we made it relatively unscathed to Chris’ parents house where wine and food awaited us. What was still a very scary experience could have been a lot worse.

On Friday night we also found out that my Grandma was not doing well, and the doctors had said that there was nothing else they could do to help her, and the end was not far away. On Saturday morning she died. She had been taken back into hospital last weekend with pneumonia, and was retaining a lot of fluid which was getting into her lungs. She had stopped eating and wasn’t able to take most of her medication. From Friday night my dad and his siblings decided to stay with her 24 hours a day so that she would have someone with her at the end. Sometime just before 8am on Saturday her breathing slowed and she just slipped away. It was the most peaceful we could have hoped for. She wasn’t scared or in pain, and by then she wasn’t even really aware of what was happening to her, so she wasn’t terrified and knowing what was coming. She was sleeping lots that night, and each time she opened her eyes there was a face she knew. And now she is no longer in pain or fear. She was 3 months from her 99th birthday. She had 5 children, 14 grandchildren, countless great-grandchildren and a few great-great grandchildren. She knew all their names and birthdays, and enjoyed nothing more than being surrounded by her family. She lived a full and long life, and it doesn’t feel heartless to say that this was the right time. We will miss her, but I know that now she is at rest. Please keep the family in your prayers. The funeral will be next Monday.

The weekend, though extremely difficult, was made easier by some truly wonderful friends, who gave us lifts in the absence of our car, made us food and cheered us up. Wine was drunk, stories told and hugs given and received. The best place to be when life throws these things at you is surrounded by friends.

Thank you

Thanks to everyone for their good wishes and prayers, those in the comments and those given to me by other means. Grandma is doing ok at the moment, the internal bleeding seemed to sort itself out, at least as much as they can tell without internal examination. She’s been eating a bit better and the doctors are again talking about her being discharged once they can sort out the medical problems which are apparently fixable. She is still terrified and saying she won’t get out of hospital, but sometimes at least accepting this as a possibility which is a start.

But it looks from all of these events that she’ll be unlikely to get back into her own home again, which will be a huge hurdle to overcome. Now her children have to work out what will be best for her, and how to balance what they believe they should do with what they each can do.

We’re going home this weekend to see her. When it was looking bad I knew I had to go in case the worst happened. Things are looking up now, but if this weekend turns out to be just one of many more visits then I shan’t be the one to complain.

Prayers needed

My Grandma is 98. She has always lived in her own home until last week when she was taken into hospital, and now is quite ill. Many varied and different things which on their own or in a younger fitter person might be difficult but not life-threatening, are not so for someone this close to 100. In particular we have learnt in the last two days that she has had some bleeding in her stomach, though we don’t know how much as she’s too frail for an endoscopy to find out. This is to do with blood thinning drugs she has had to prevent clotting. These drugs have been stopped to prevent further bleeds, but this carries equally scary and unpredictable risks. There is nothing we can do or know. She may well be fine and come through this as she has through so much else. Or she may not.

At the moment, she is simply petrified, knowing quite well that she may be staring death in the face. Aside from the obvious trauma to her family, the worst part is her fear of death. She is not a woman of faith, and has never been able to believe in anything else beyond this life. Even now as she faces what will come, she has admitted she can’t believe in a God or anything similar. She is surrounded by family and yet alone with this fear which no one can remove.

Please pray. Not for us, but for her. Not for some miraculous conversion, but just for God to be with her, to give her what she needs. Comfort in the dark times, strength in the struggle and peace now and at the end. Whenever that will be. Thank you.

Christmas comes but once a year..

Long time no blog. Not because I haven’t meant to, or wanted to, or even because I didn’t have anything to say. But more because I couldn’t quite seem to get round to saying it. I think I’ve said this before, the problem with blogging is that when you have things to blog you don’t have time to.  Anyway, I thought I should catch up, before I head off into the wild blue yonder.

Due to being away for Christmas (the first time ever I’ve not been at home, I would have to go to extremes and be on a different continent!) we had Christmas early this year. Twice in fact. Two weeks ago was Christmas number one with my parents. We had Christmas dinner, Christmas pudding, crackers, the tree was up (slightly early especially for us!), we exchanged presents, the whole works. I was thinking it was going to be odd trying to have it early, kinda like forcing it. But it made me realise, its not about what the date is on the calendar, but how you spend the time. That day, for us, was as much Christmas as it could have been. And this year we had cards, and presents, for *us*, together. A real milestone, and the feeling that this was something real, something lasting.

Christmas number two was last weekend, in London, just the two of us. This time we had presents for each other, although not all of Chris’ present made it to London- the entire West Wing box set is a little heavy, so he made do with one seasons worth! For me, the first series of Life on Mars J and some pretty necklaces from Accessorize, as well as some rather yummy posh chocolates infused with Earl Grey tea!!! Tea and chocolate, all in one! I think that was a ‘saw this and thought of you’ moment.. no idea why. With the presents we had mulled wine and Christmas music (which wasn’t quite the same as carols round the piano in Swansea, but was nice all the same), and then a nice meal Ask down the road with bubbly and everything. All in all, I think we’ve done quite well for Christmas so far.

And then tomorrow we fly, quite literally off into the wild blue yonder. Arriving in Nairobi, travelling through the Masai Mara, down to Lake Nakuru in the Rift Valley, and to Amboseli in the shadow of Kilimanjaro, ending on the coast at Mombasa. I’m off to London tonight, and then we fly tomorrow evening, back after New Year. So excited, its just sunk in, I think, particularly when packing last night. I can’t believe any of it, that its finally arrived, this trip we’ve been talking about for so long, that I’m going to Africa. And that I’m going as part of their family, just cos. It still amazes me, that they’re happy to take me with them, to let me be part of it all.

After all this, all that is left is to wish you all a very happy Christmas, whatever you do and wherever you may be. We’ll see you in the new year, and hopefully bring back some photos to share!

Checking in

Wow. Well here it is, brand new wibsite. Kinda feels like I should have something particular to say when posting here, at least for the first time.. sorry, no such luck today. I kinda just wanted to post to check it out!

Anyway, I’m sure some things have happened that are blog-worthy.

Since the last post I have;

-been to stay with the parents for a weekend with Chris, and bought a sofa. Well, ok, he did the buying of the sofa, and we don’t have it yet. And there’s the small matter of us not actually having a place together yet either. But hey, it was nice and comfy, and reduced, and its the first thing we’d decided we need when we do.

-preached another service, this time in a ickle methodist chapel outside of Shrewsbury, middle of farming country where I was warned that post-service conversations can be about pigs. Something tells me Oscar Romero wasn’t really the bit they latched on to. Although there was a young couple (NB this is rural methodism, for ‘young’ read 50’s) who were *very* enthusiastic- obviously something different went down well in some ways

-been to London (not for an interview!) at the weekend, done some Christmas shopping (woo hoo, get us!), been to visit a friend of mine who I’ve not seen for ages, and generally relaxed. Oh, and got a little freaked by a cat in the pulpit on Sunday. Slightly odd when the guy walked in with it, and the mewing made the rememberance day silence a little interesting. But when it was happily sitting on the pulpit while we had tea afterwards, I was a little concerned.

So there we are, thats me. I’m still here, promise.

Travellin’ folkie

Two blog posts in a week, wow I am on a roll.. Hmm, maybe not. But everything’s relative. Anyway, I’m just saying hello and I’m ok. Pretty much. This may have something to do with the fact I have one day of work left, then a holiday 🙂 To Canada for a couple of weeks with the parents 😀 This amazing trip was booked over a year ago now (I think, it feels like a long time) and after holding out for a while ‘in case I got a job’ (so we’d know something about the best time/holidays etc) we went for it. And then I got a job. Well, not quite that soon, but anyway. They have to let me go, even mid-newting, cos its booked! Hoorah!

So, we’re flying on Thursday, to Toronto, and then getting on a little (but rather impressive sounding) train that takes us all the way into Jasper, Alberta, where we then spend some time looking round, and going on trips up to pretty lakes and walking on glaciers and so on. Then we go on a bit further west and into a couple of other national parks before ending up in Vancouver for a couple of days. So when people have said where in Canada are you going, there’s not really a short answer!

I’m actually looking forward to it now. Which hadn’t happened up untill an hour or so when I started packing.. before then it didn’t quite seem real, all it was was a time when I wasn’t working. I’ve been too busy and shattered to think about it more than that. But now its starting to be real. I’ve got my stuff (more or less) packed. And found my passport. And when I finish work tomorrow I get to drive home. It will be lovely to see my parents and get to spend some actual time with them when we’re not all really busy, which we don’t get a lot of these days.

The only downside is due to my new job starting part way through the holiday year, I only have enough days for this holiday, and not really anything else. I’ve managed to swing a day off for Chris’ graduation 🙂 but we had to cancel our trip to Scotland which was a shame. But I don’t think there’s any danger of us not managing to get up there sometime. The more places I see, the longer the list of places I want to see seems to get. Maybe its easier to say where I don’t want to go. That wouldn’t take long!

Well, I might manage to pop in sometime while I’m away, but if not, I’ll see you in June!

It never rains… but it pours

Although usually its outside rather than in! We had a small, erm, ‘water feature’ develop in our house yesterday. Which wasn’t intentional, attractive or particularly welcome. The insurance supplied us with a plumber within an hour or so, so the leak itself didn’t last, but we’re still dealing with the aftermath- damp walls, bulging wallpaper, possibly water damaged roof space… and a bubble on my bedroom ceiling which we burst in a slightly more controlled way than would have happened had we left it.. I retired to the sofabed rather than get dripped on all night! Anywyay, apart from having to wait for the next lot of workmen (a ‘drying company’ are expected sometime, visions of men turning up with huge industrial hairdryers.. ;)) we’re ok. In one piece, not too damp, muddling along.

The slight inconvenience is put into perspective by other news. I won’t go into details here, but I found out just today that my cousin is struggling with some quite serious health problems. He’s in good hands, and there isn’t a lot that we can do but watch and wait, and hope. And pray. For him, his mum (my mums sister) and brother. For my mum who will bear a lot of this herself, along with my dad. If you can, I don’t often ask, but please remember Matthew and his family. Thank you so much.

Destination: Anywhere

I seem to manage a blog about every month or so these days. I’m not quite sure when life got so busy, or maybe its just that I don’t feel that whats happening is worthy of sharing. I don’t know. But I thought I should pay a visit and try to get myself back into this blogging thing. I do miss it.

So anyway, whats new you ask? Thats just it, I don’t know. And when you get out of the habit of blogging regularly, you feel like you have to have something amazingly earth shattering to say or it seems like an anticlimax.

Well, I’ve had a busy couple of months running up and down the country.. feels like I’ve not really been at home properly at all! Since my last blog, I’ve had… a weekend in London with my parents, seeing the Renoir landscapes exhibition in the National Gallery, and the Watersons in the Albert Hall… a lovely long weekend in Paris, with (partly) glorious sunshine (and a fantastic thunderstorm thrown in for good measure!) and good company :D, a good mix of sightseeing and sitting around doing nowt 🙂 … and a weekend at home for my *youngest* cousins wedding! A lovely service in the Catholic Church I went to as a child, and glorious weather all day. A nice chance to catch up with the family, aside from the ‘you’re next’ comments (err, not just yet I’m not!). Add to that three trips to Birmingham for various SCM stuff, at least two (unsuccessful) job applications, a Local Preachers meeting (as a visitor, not quite that mad yet!) and a fair amount of working, and you don’t get much time leftover. Phew. I feel tired just thinking about it.

And just to keep up the trend, I’m away this weekend in Sheffield for the SCM summer gathering, where I get to hand over my responsibility (and maybe swap it for a different one..) and see this delightful (!) city for the first time. I have a feeling it won’t be the last. Day off tomorrow, I might manage to breathe a little before I go off again. I’ll try to stop by a little more regularly, feel free to prod me if I dissappear again!