Blog hibernation

My blog is definitely hibernating at the moment as I seem to have lost the desire. As you’ll know by now, I tend to just go with life as the flow takes me so I shall wait until I am back in the mood.

I’m coming to the end of a week house and cat-sitting for mum and had hoped I might feel like blogging but I haven’t. I’ve had a wonderful week just being “me” so have just enjoyed it. I’ve been for nice walks, eaten as and when I felt like it and mooched round the shops – though not really seeing much to grab my fancy. Oh, I did like being able to watch some of the World Cup games too :)

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City v Gillingham 1999

What a great video to enjoy over breakfast coffee today. Thanks City! LOVE it! I remember it well…

MCFC’s Match Highlight Video

I was a single mum living in Sussex. No Sky TV. Red neighbour recorded it for me and brought the video over to me . Dad phoned me from Chester to ask if I’d watched/listened to the game. I said I had the video to see when I’d put the kids to bed. He kept his voice neutral and asked me to call him when I’d watched it. I really couldn’t tell which way it had gone. I bathed the kids and read them their stories, said goodnight and came downstairs.

The phone rang. Dad wanted to know if I’d seen it yet. Be sure to call when I had.

I settled down and watched. Half time 0-0. Dad called. How far had I got? Don’t forget to call at the end. I STILL couldn’t figure out if we’d won or lost.

Second half………… OH MY GOD! No wonder dad was in such a tizz about chatting it through! I duly called him and we cried and laughed and chatted about this crazy game.

Wish we could have done the same or even in person with some of our crazy games since. But I love that we shared this one despite the distance between us. He was certainly not perfect, but one of the things dad DID get right was making me a Blue. Thanks dad.

Guest blog part 5: The final episode, by Sue (Anji’s mum)

Oh oh! Almost forgot that I hadn’t rounded off the week I’ve been guest blogging about so I’d better do that and then hand the reins back to Anji and let her get back on an even keel with blogging herself. (I’m sure she has lots to write about by now.)

I left things on a high note after we’d been to the Palace v City game and we still felt buoyed up the next morning but then it was time to come back down to earth and get ready to leave London for our return to the real world. We hadn’t been looking forward to travelling early as it meant negotiating the tail end of the rush hour and carrying/dragging our luggage through all the commuters on their way to work from the suburbs but, after quickly packing our bags and enjoying our last hotel breakfast, we were on our way. The walk to the station was uneventful and we were grateful for the (newly installed?) lifts down to the platform as the line is at a very low level and all the steps would have been quite a challenge. However, getting seats on the train was another matter and though the journey was less comfortable than we’d have liked, we arrived in central London and made our way to the coach station in good time for our 1030 departure only to find that it had been delayed so we had to hang around for quite a while.

Eventually, it was time to board our coach and the lady driver then explained that the delay had been due to her late arrival on her previous journey and the need for her statutory break before she was legally allowed to take charge of another vehicle. What a difference it makes when someone takes the trouble to communicate as we fully understood about keeping everyone safe! Our driver managed to make up the lost time so, after a shorter than anticipated break in Birmingham and a change of drivers, we were back in Chester at more or less the originally expected time (late afternoon). The coach itself wasn’t as comfortable as the one on the outward journey but it did the job and we certainly can’t complain about the fare charged so ‘Thank You’ National Express for getting us safely to London and back.

A short taxi ride soon had us home and we could then relax and enjoy our final evening together. We definitely didn’t fancy cooking so we decided on a Chinese takeaway for our meal and were then disappointed to find that our favourite Chinese restaurant had either closed down or was closed on a Monday. Undaunted, we resorted to a hastily-concocted Plan B and walked to the local Chinese Chippy to collect whatever was on offer there. It wasn’t quite the same but it sufficed and I’m sure the bottle of red we opened to go with it helped us to enjoy our meal while we relived our last few days and even managed a couple more recorded quiz programmes before giving in and going to bed. Anji was due to leave Chester on a lunchtime train next day so, thankfully, she was able to ignore her re-packing until the following morning.

Then it really was our very last day and, before I knew it, I was seeing Anji off at the station to make her way home in readiness for catching up with the family’s news and getting things straight in time to return to work the next day. I hope she’s well and truly recovered from all that travelling and the strange feeling of perpetual movement that was probably inevitable after so much climbing on and off all those buses, trains, coaches, etc..

So, it only leaves me to reiterate what a wonderful mother/daughter time it had all been, how much I’d enjoyed our shared experiences and how worthwhile had been all the planning, execution and expense associated with the project. Anji, I can’t thank you enough for making all the effort it involved and I’d like to put on record that I love you and love your company very much indeed. Here’s to next time! I’ll let you have your blog back now!

Guest blog part 4: Palace v City by Sue (Anji’s mum)

Sunday 27 April

Yes! The day had finally arrived when we would be witness, in the flesh, to our two beloved football teams battling it out on the pitch. We’d waited a long time for this as it’s been a while (!) since Palace were in the same league as City. I use that term lightly as they aren’t exactly “in the same league” of course, but both Premiership teams at the moment. Imagine my excitement, especially being safe in the knowledge that they would meet again next season since Palace had performed a miracle under Tony Pulis and climbed out of the relegation zone with matches to spare. My only reservation was that Anji wouldn’t be sitting in the away end as she’d have liked and would be concealing her team’s colours beneath her coat to accompany me in the home stands. Thank you darling! Good job it wasn’t a hot day!

The morning passed slowly as it wasn’t worth doing much before our planned early lunch and we pottered about the local shops until going to Wetherspoons for said lunch (very nice!) before setting off by bus to Selhurst Park. Anji had arranged for us to meet some of her friends for a pre-match drink and so we enjoyed the build-up to the game with them and I loved being surrounded by all the Palace fans in the team’s colours. (I’ve been to the Etihad to see City v Palace with Anji but it’s a bit blue there!)

Friends of different feathers

Jen, Martin, Me photo JenMartinMe_zps699926bf.jpg Mum before match photo WP_000486_zps4b9b38b1.jpg

A huge cheer went up when the result of an earlier match appeared on the big screen in the club and it was so nice to be part of it. We walked back to the ground a bit ahead of the others as I wanted to look in the club shop, where I bought a new badge/ pin.

Home!


As we wandered back to our entrance gate we saw a vendor with scarves displaying both teams’ colours and had a discussion about whether they were a bit naff or not, agreeing that they were. Guess who ended up buying them though? We just couldn’t let the opportunity pass as, as previously stated, our teams meet so rarely and it would have been silly to let them escape un-purchased. I’m not sorry, even though we did afterwards discover that the date was wrong on them! Gullible or what?

Spot the deliberate mistake!

I’m not going to attempt to write a match report as I’m no football expert. (I’m still trying to get my head around the offside rule.) I just know I enjoy it. The atmosphere was wonderful, with the pre-match performance by the Crystals and the eagle swooping across the pitch to build up the excitement – all part of the Crystal Palace show that happens at every home game. The home and away fans were singing throughout the game and, even though Palace were beaten 0-2 by City, it didn’t feel like a loss. After all, I am a closet (well, closet with the door open!) City fan and would love to see them win the title, given that Palace are safe and I hold no allegiance to certain other teams who shall remain nameless, one of whom was subsequently held to a media-shocking draw at Selhurst Park a few days before I write this. Everyone seemed happy leaving the ground, so I don’t think it was just us that felt like that.

On arrival back at the hotel, we decided that it would be rude not to have a last drink in the bar before we went up to pack so, sporting our naff scarves, that’s what we did. Is it really possible to have a quiet drink, wearing such scarves? Obviously not, as we found ourselves engaged in conversation with a pleasant, if a tad loquacious, chappie who wanted to hear all about how we came to be where we were and where we came from, etc. It rounded off our day quite nicely but we decided we were far too tired to pack and fell into bed ‘tired but happy’ as they say in all the best Enid Blyton adventure books. We’d have to throw everything in our cases in the morning!

City shirt, half scarf photo Cityshirthalfscarf_zps77fca0e2.jpg Palace shirt, half scarf photo Palaceshirthalfscarf_zpsf8eeb2a8.jpg

MCFC’s short highlights here
MCFC’s extended highlights here

Guest blog part 3: Visiting Sussex by Sue (Anji’s mum)

Saturday 26 April

After a comfortable night we made our way to the hotel’s lift expecting to whizz up to the top floor and the restaurant for breakfast with a view over London. Wrong! Since our last visit, the restaurant had been re-located in the basement so we followed our noses and found it without any help from available staff, notices, information sheets in rooms etc. Well done us! Breakfast was quite good, too, though the tea, coffee and orange juice left a lot to be desired. Afterwards, Anji having looked at train times on her mobile’s app, we set off for the station and bought the necessary tickets so that we could get to Sussex and visit the southern branch of our family. For the best value, it meant using our Oyster cards for the first part of the journey and then travelling on the new tickets for the remainder of it. Our carefully chosen train times would have worked well but for the fact that we needed to check out and in again at the interim point and that made us just in time to be too late to catch the connection. We would have had a Costa coffee to while away the hour’s wait for the next one but that was far too complicated as Costa was outside of the ticket barrier so we made do with a station buffet version served in polystyrene cups. It was OK (and better than the hotel’s) but you can’t beat a Costa coffee, can you? The weather was being kind so we enjoyed our journey into the countryside and the short walk from the station to R, M & J’s house with a stop on at Tesco en route for me to buy a bottle of champagne and a couple of other goodies.

We received a warm welcome on arrival and had a lovely time chatting, catching up with news and events and admiring and fussing the two magnificent feline members of the family. I was very generously indulged in my plea for permission to take lots of photos and even J cooperated by letting me include him. M had prepared a delicious lunch so we polished that off and drank the champagne which was to celebrate Crystal Palace’s survival in the Premiership (I’d been promising myself that reward on the team’s behalf for some time, never dreaming that it would come actually happen) and R’s new job.

Our visit came to an end far too soon but Anji and I had to get back to London and let the others recover from our visit as we fully realise that we’re a bit of a force to be reckoned with when we get together! Sorry folks! All agreed that it had been an enjoyable afternoon, though. R walked us back to the station and when we arrived in London, we popped into the local supermarket to buy a few provisions to see us through the evening and the next day and then we relaxed in our room back at the hotel. Tomorrow promised to be another exciting day!

Food store photo foodstore_zps879a12dc.jpg

Guest blog part 2: On to London, by Sue (Anji’s mum)

Well, the SGD report was well-received by the boss so I’ll continue….

Thursday 24 April
After our lovely day yesterday and with our ‘big trip’ to The Smoke looming large and for which we both needed to pack/re-pack , we applied ourselves to the task in hand and surprised ourselves by managing not to make our luggage too unmanageable. As a reward, we had an early lunch, left the meat for the evening meal gently cooking in the oven and opted for an afternoon of pootling around a shopping area not too far away by bus. Our meal didn’t need too much effort to complete when we returned so we opened a bottle of wine to accompany it (of course!) and afterwards settled down for a natter, laugh and a bit of tele-watching and enjoyed pitting our joint wits against the questions on some recorded quiz programmes. After all, we have to make sure our brains still work whilst we’re relaxing! … and so to bed in readiness for the next part of our adventure.

Friday 25 April
Oh dear, I’m not used to this early-rising lark now that I’m retired but we set our alarms and were ready at the appointed time for our taxi to the coach stop (both of us relieved by the fact that the nearby facilities would be open and available before our long journey). Not having travelled by National Express coach for a good while we weren’t sure what to expect but found the 5 hr journey comfortable enough and kept ourselves amused by reading, talking and generally enjoying the ride. It took us a little while to understand our friendly driver’s announcements as his accent was a mix of his native language and Liverpudlian, but he and a second driver did an excellent job and deposited us at the coach station in London on time. It was but a short walk to the train station from whence to continue to the suburbs and our ultimate destination. We’d chosen a hotel in which we’d stayed on a previous football trip as, though basic, it meets our needs of a clean, comfortable bed, a no-frills (but adequate) cooked breakfast and a good location from which to reach our targeted visiting places. The only drawback is that it’s quite a walk from the station up a very steep hill! Maybe we’ll do the Ritz next time – who knows? Anyway, we were happy with our room so, after settling in, we made good use of our Oyster card/free bus pass and made our way, umbrellas in hand, to the nearest Café Rouge restaurant for our evening meal. Thank you to Billy for the voucher which covered most of that.



Puddings :)

To round off the day, we acquainted ourselves with the bar back at our hotel for a nightcap and use of the free WiFi and that was the end of the beginning. We retired to our room to plan for the next day and have a good sleep…..

St George’s Day 2014 – Guest blog by Sue (Anji’s Mum)

When Anji bemoaned the fact that she wouldn’t have time to write a blog about about our recent week together and suggested I write it for her as a ‘Guest Blog’ I thought she was joking but, on reflection, I think maybe she was half-serious so here goes:

Anji is without wheels at the moment (her old banger having finally given up the ghost) so in order to get from A to B to C, etc., it was necessary for her (separately) and us (jointly) to use trusty old Public Transport throughout the week. Having originally planned to drive to me in Chester after work on 22nd, it became necessary for Anji to do that journey by rail during the day so working arrangements were duly changed with her colleague. (Thank you K.) As far as I can gather, that journey was without event, included a convenient pit-stop en route, and I met her at the station on arrival. We then enjoyed a good catch-up over a delicious Dominos pizza, accompanied by a bottle of robust red wine when we got back here.

Cards


We awoke next morning with an air of excitement as we had our annual celebration of St George’s Day to look forward to. After breakfast, we both did our best to do justice to the day by wearing dresses (a very rare occurrence for me!) and generally making ourselves presentable, as Anji’s dad as an ex Coldstream Guard was wont to do (not the dress, obviously!) every year on this day in honour of his ‘Battalion Day’. We visited the crematorium on the way to town to pick up our red-rose buttonholes which had been pre-ordered and, sporting those, we went on our (soon to be) merry way to see what, if anything was going on for good old St George. Apparently, the florist had had several orders for rose buttonholes and a group was re-enacting the George and the Dragon story outside the Town Hall but we saw no evidence of others celebrating our national day.

Rose buttonhole

Rose and badge


Undeterred, we wandered off to a quintessentially English tea/coffee room where we enjoyed coffees and scones then proceeded to meander around some of the shops, picked up a few small items of interest and walked by the river and through Grosvenor Park. The park is undergoing some upgrading work at the moment so it was a bit of a mess but heyho! – we enjoyed it anyway.

Coffee time

Oh dear, we still hadn’t had a proper drink so we put that right with a visit to reliable old JDW’s (“Spoons”)and then set out to find some lunch. Back to the river then to the Boat House where we found ongoing building work to restore order after the winter floods but never mind, we settled down to watch rowers practising on the river whilst we enjoyed beautifully-cooked beer-battered fish and chips served on plates lined with greaseproof-paper displaying information about fish, etc.. We did, of course, have a little tipple with our meal, as is the custom on SGD and took in our stride the interruption when one of the builders accidentally set off the fire alarm.

1st drinks photo SGD1stDrinks_zps53331b9f.jpg Spoons mum photo SGDSpoonsMum_zpsfdb092ba.jpg Lunch by river mum photo SGDlunchmum_zpsf6cfb0e3.jpg Lunch me photo SGDlunch_zps1d12614a.jpg Lunch tipple photo SGDlunch2_zpsaf1e71ce.jpg Lunch drinks photo SGDlunchdrinks_zps518ba278.jpg Lunch photo SGDLunchFishandchips_zps531eeaf1.jpg

Feeling somewhat merrier by now, we made our way to the next planned watering hole only to find it closed. However, not too far away was a new establishment – an old church converted to a bar/ restaurant – where we whiled away another very pleasant interlude with a little drink.

Church pub photo SGDChurchoutside_zpsd5b2ce43.jpg In Church photo SGDChurch_zps5892ad6b.jpg Church bar photo Churchbar_zps592a1f82.jpg Church drinks photo SGDChurchdrinks_zps813c4998.jpg Church pew photo ChurchMum_zps78aa4d22.jpg Church - me photo Anjichurch_zpsd6db821e.jpg

During our earlier wanderings, we’d called into the O2 shop to discuss my up-coming mobile upgrade and I decided I wanted to it that day so off we went back to the shop, did the deal and came away with my new toy. Exhausted by now and with home time calling, we returned on the bus to round off the day with crumpets and cakes – and more wine throughout a (very) relaxed evening.

Last drinks of the day

All in all, a very good SGD once again. Thank you Anji, for enjoying it with me.

My weekend in a few words

I drove to the match on Saturday and drove through brilliant sunshine, snow on the verges, hailstone storms, wind, rain and spray so thick fog lights had to be used! I was very surprised by how few fans Fulham brought – I’ve never seen so few (about 1/3 of the lower tier away section only, and none of the top!)

fulham fans

After enjoying the 5-0 win, despite being absolutely freezing cold, I stopped to admire the building work for our new academy which is coming on apace. The white structure is the bridge which will link the academy complex to the stadium.

etihad bridge

Then it was off to mum’s for a wonderful 24-hours of laughs and love. I even managed (at last) to do my naked face selfie for cancer awareness. If you haven’t yet done it girls,I nominate you, and boys, I nominate you to take a selfie with makeup! Regardless, go and check yourselves now for lumps and bumps please – that’s the price I’m charging for seeing my picture! 😛 (Yes. Now. Go on. It will only take you a mo. Girls, check those boobs, chaps that precious tackle!

nomakeupselfie1

Although the weather had been challenging on the drive down, the car’s new radiator (fitted the day before) behaved itself perfectly.Alas, on the way back, the weather behaved and the car didn’t! I drove home with my eyes glued to the temperature guage and had to refill the radiator reservoir several times and buy extra fluid along the way.

cartemp

Thank fully I made I made it home safely having kept the car at 60 mph / 3000 rpm or less – so it was straight to bed for me. I’ve had today off though and have been able to catch up at home with 4 wash loads done, unpacking done, finances sorted, and a lovely relaxing bath before homemade pepperoni pizza to round it off. Wonderful! Can I have a day off every week please? :)

Cats and paper=moths and flame

I didn’t really want to do the Dingbats/ read the cartoons, or do my finance paperwork this weekend cats, S’ok! 😉

Cats Life

Wednesday’s view

I am lucky to work in a lovely hospital building in a beautiful part of the country. On Wednesday’s when I attend the post grad education meetings, I get to enjoy these views from the education centre on the top floor:

hgh view

hgh view 2