Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Destroyer

Apologies for the lack of posts this week.
Basil the destructive dog of doom has destroyed no fewer than **three** modem cables during the course of this week.

Sigh.
Much as I love him, I wish he didn`t have this obsession with modem cables.
At this rate he will end up on the TV programme "Dog Borstal"......
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Monday, September 25, 2006

Interesting Take on Marriage

For a truly insightful, thoughtful and funny exposition of the roles of men and women in marriage - and just why marriage is so challenging, read Dwight Longenecker here

I have read some of Dwight`s previous work on St Benedict, and he is a *very* thoughtful RC writer.
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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Oops

I shall be glad to see the back of this weekend.

DH went foodshopping, and spotted some nice ready-made meals on ridiculously cheap special offer at the supermarket. He bought loads of them . And I mean loads, thinking that it would save me having to cook so much over the weekend, bless him.

But there was one slight problem. He hadn`t realised they were *frozen* ready meals (not keep-chilled with plenty of time left before their expiry dates), and needed to be kept frozen. When he got home, he loaded them all in the fridge, and it was only after they had all defrosted that I opened the fridge and went "uh-oh". So we have eaten lots of them. Burp.

Bearing in mind my food budget for the four of us plus dog is £70 a week, to have to eat about £15 of ready meals in 24 hours was a bit of a blow, not to mention over-loading the stomachs :-)

The dog had a lucky escape from serious injury when DH left an empty Coke tin in the living-room with the dog. When DH went in again, the tin had disappeared into a shower of literally hundreds of tiny shards all over the floor, pulverised by Basil`s powerful jaws. Luckily the dog appears to have suffered no ill-effects.

The straw that broke the camel`s back was DH returning from walking Basil yesterday with the admission he had lost his wedding ring. He was desperately upset; after all, this was one of the pair that had been blessed in Church for our Betrothal service, then our Crowning service. We all piled out and retraced his steps as far as possible, but the wilderness where we generally walk the dog is acres and acres of dune-land and scrubland, loads of bushes etc, so impossible to search properly. We even went on the beach, in case it had dropped in the sand or shingle there, but to no avail.

Ho hum.

After the unscheduled expense of the poor cat last week, there is no way we can afford another £150 to replace the ring for the forseeable future.
Not the most peaceful and pleasant weekend we have ever had, I have to say.......
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Saturday, September 23, 2006

McDonald`s Versus the NHS

I wasn`t surprised to read this article showing that a manager at McDonald`s actually gets a much better deal in terms of working conditions than a junior NHS doctor in the UK .

And management staff at the Golden Arches get private medical cover for themselves, spouses and children. Go figure.
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Friday, September 22, 2006

Prayers for Hamster

I join DoomHamster in asking for prayers for Richard Hammond, (known on the show as The Hamster) one of the presenters from the BBC Top Gear car programme.

We all watch Top Gear, and we were very distressed to hear of his extremely serious accident whilst trying to break a land speed record. It is a dangerous thing to do, but it is still dreadful when disaster strikes as it did here.

Mercifully his condition has improved somewhat, and it looks like he will survive. Yesterday the odds were apparently given as 50-50 by the doctors.

Full story here
Heartfelt prayers for him, his family and his colleagues from the show, who are all naturally very upset.


UPDATE:
The Hamster has now been transferred out of Intensive Care to a general ward, where he is making good progress, thanks be to God.
Thank you for your prayers.
He is a much-loved presenter in the UK, and well-wishers have been making substantial donations to the air ambulance fund which transported him from the accident scene to hospital.
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Arabian Nights

It is only by the closest of shaves that Turkish authoress Elif Shafak has been cleared of "insulting Turkishness" by a Turkish court.
I kid you not; go here to read how bad things are for anyone who dares to insult Turkishness in any shape or form.


And to think it may not be long till the European Union allows Turkey to join - the mind boggles. People in Britain would most likely end up in court accused of insulting Turkishness too, just for writing in a blog or a newspaper.......
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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Speech Matters

On Sunday, DD4 just looked me straight in the eye and said :
" Oh Mummy, I **love** talking !"

I had tears in my eyes, for this is the precious child who has struggled with a majorly significant speech delay for two and a half years, and is only now really just starting to catch up with the rest of her year group in school. Only within this last year has she emerged from a prison where she could think but not make herself understood to anyone around her, nor understand what people were expecting her to do.
I can only begin to imagine how scary and traumatic it must have been for her.

I love to *hear* her talking!

Just don`t start me ranting about how she has been really badly let down by the NHS due to scandalous chronic underfunding of the Speech Therapy/Pathology service both nationally and locally, which meant that she had to wait a whole year even to be assessed, and then had to go back on a waiting list before having five 45 minute sessions of speech therapy in one year.And that was it.


Thanks to her wonderful Nursery class teacher and Classroom assistant, who spent huge amounts of time talking to her and coaxing her to talk back, she has made really significant progress since last September.
There is still a long way to go, but at least she and I can talk to each other now.......
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Monday, September 18, 2006

Wake Island

I finally got around to checking up on how much damage the super-typhoon Ioke did to poor little Wake Island, and was delighted to find that no major damage was sustained.
Roofs got lifted, but all the fuel storage tanks etc were left intact; they would have been a significant environmental hazard if they had been damaged and leaked aviation fuel etc.
Details here
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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Update on Asking Prayers

Thanks to all of you who have been remebering my friend Jack in your prayers.

Jack has been in contact with me, and he seems very much more happy. He is living in safe accomodation and is putting his life in order.

We had a long chat, and I am so relieved to have heard from him. In the fulness of time it looks like he will be okay.
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The Hills Are Alive......

In August, I blogged about the BBC programme "How do you solve a problem like Maria?", which was following the fortunes of a group of women hoping to play the role of Maria in Andrew Lloyd-Webber`s new stage production of The Sound Of Music.

Last night saw us glued to the TV to watch the final episode, and I am pleased to announce that my favourite, Connie, has won.

Now we need to start saving up to pay for tickets to go and see her on stage at the London Palladium :-)
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Friday, September 15, 2006

Sad And Happy....

Yesterday we had to rush our 13 year old cat, Sooty, to the vet`s. She was unable to walk and obviously in intense pain.
The vet thought she may have been involved in a car accident and might have suffered a fractured pelvis and deep vein thrombosis, as one of her back legs was grossly swollen and cold to the touch.

She was kept in overnight on painkillers and heparin to thin the blood, and this morning a load of blood tests were done to assess kidney and liver functions to exclude diabetes and thyroid problems as she has become really thin over the last few weeks, despite eating large quantities of food.

The blood results were quite good, so the vet recommended a thorough examination under general anaesthetic and a series of x-rays of the pelvis and leg. She phoned us back to give us bad news - there was a huge cancerous tumour the size of a large satsuma orange deep in her pelvis, which was blocking off the main artery through the pelvis to the leg. It was an inoperable tumour and as she was in a lot of pain, the advice was euthanasia.

I went to the surgery and I held Sooty in my arms, and she was nuzzling into me and purring whilst she was being put to sleep. A gentle end for a loving and sweet cat.
But I still broke my heart. Sleep peacefully, dear Sooty....

It has been a day of mixed emotions; today is my beloved husband`s 40th birthday.
Many Years, love of my life!
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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Touch of Envy

DD1 is getting a lift with a parishioner friend to Vesperal Liturgy for the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross this evening.

I own to a touch of envy, but I will be at home with the young ones, who really do **need** to go to bed at 8pm at latest on school nights for them to be able to get up and go to school the next morning without looking and acting like extremely bad-tempered zombies, especially DD4 who does need a minimum of 11 and 1/2 hours sleep per night just to function in school.Twelve or thirteen hours suits her even better.....

Because of the travelling distances, DD1 won`t get home till about 10.30 or 11pm, as there will be refreshments and social time after the service, so it really is out of the question for me to go with the kids, however much I`d like to.
In fairness to DD1, as she works on Sundays, weekday Liturgies are the only ones she manages to get to at the moment, so I can`t ask her to stay home for me to go tonight.
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Aftershock

I look at DD4 and cannot believe that she is so nearly five, and that it has indeed been five years since September 11th.

I was at home when the news broke, and I spent much of the day in tears, watching the film footage on the news with horror that such evil and destruction could have been deliberately planned.

Memory Eternal to those who perished, and may God grant comfort to those who lost family and friends on that dreadful day.

Being pregnant made it more horrific in some ways; I laid my hands on my stomach, cradling my precious unborn baby and worried about the crazy, flawed world into which she would soon be born.

Things have indeed changed forever.

In the last few months, I have read several books detailing the incredible bravery and heroism displayed by so many people on that day at the WTC.

I want my daughter to grow up knowing that people can be brave and good and true, and that it is a privilege to be free to be a practising Christian, not a right.

Christian rights are increasingly being eroded in Britain, and the day may well come when we will be persecuted for being Christians.

God grant us all grace and strength to persevere in our Christian journey till our life`s end.
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Vaccine Or Cervical Smear ?

Interestingly, in light of intense worldwide debate over the use of the new HPV vaccine against cervical cancer, an eminent cancer surgeon has said that in his opinion, it is rather pointless in Britain due to the apparently extremely effective cervical smear program which is in place.

His opinion can be found here.
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The Four Faces Of God

I would really love to have some feedback on how my American readers view this particular piece of research .
The article can be found here.

Quote:
It found that Americans hold four different images of God — Authoritarian, Benevolent, Critical or Distant — and these views are far more powerful indicators about their political, social and moral attitudes than any of the traditional categories such as Protestant, Catholic or Evangelical.

The study also suggests that America is more religious than previously thought, with only 5.2 per cent of respondents calling themselves atheist and 91.8 per cent saying that they believed in God.

In Britain, by contrast, 20 per cent say that they hold no belief in a higher power and only 38 per cent claim to believe in a traditional God, according to a 2005 survey.

The American survey, conducted by Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion in Texas, broke new ground in asking respondents how they viewed God’s personality.

Researchers found that Americans hold four distinct views, and these “Four Gods” are remarkably accurate diviners of how an American thinks about everything from politics, abortion, taxation and marriage. “You learn more about people’s moral and political behaviour if you know their image of God than almost any other measure,” said Christopher Bader, one of the researchers.

End Quote.

I would love to know if they interviewed any Orthodox, and if so, what "Face" of God they held............. or would this lead to a whole new category ?
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Forensic Science

DD2 is happily attending college and studying a BTEC Forensic Science course.

She is the youngest on the course at just 17; the oldest are in their forties, just like me :-)

Last week they went to the police HQ in Blogsville to visit the forensic science deaprtment there, and they were asked "Have any of your friends or relatives been murdered in Blogtown(the adjacent town) within the last ten years?".
Rather a surprising question till they found that they were going to see graphically explicit crime-scene photographs of a rather brutal murder where the husband bludgeoned his wife to death with a lump-hammer. The officer just wanted to make sure none of them knew or were related to the victim in order to avoid causing undue distress.

In due course they will be taking "mock" crime-scene photographs themselves, amongst many other things, as well as watching some unpleasant movies (Silence of the Lambs etc) in order to study psychological profiling techniques.
They also were given souvenir embossed personal finger-prints.

I have to say, if I was in her shoes I would have been rather traumatised by the course, but she is a tough cookie.

Even if , at her belated birthday celebration last night she was delighted to get a chocolate caterpillar birthday cake , LOL.
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Cycle Helmets- Health Risk ?

I was really quite surprised to read this article, showing that wearing a safety helnet whist cycling may actually increase the chances of you being hit by a vehicle.......

The mind boggles.

Not to mention the fact that I never ever guessed that "Traffic psychologist" really was a paid job , LOL.
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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Shaking My Head In Disbelief

I continue to be appalled at the morally gutless way in which Tony Blair runs this country. Considering his wife is RC, how she lets him get away with this also amazes me:

"Advisers to British government ministers have said that schoolchildren should be given compulsory lessons about the benefits of abortion. The Independent Advisory Group on Teenage Pregnancy has recommended that children as young as five years old should be taught about abortion. They said that the lessons should aim to combat the "myths" that might put teenagers off having abortions. [Daily Mail, 7 September] The advisory group has also said that free condoms should be handed out to children in sports halls, shops and swimming pools. Gill Frances, who leads the group, refused to specify the age of the children who should be given condoms but indicated that it could include children as young as twelve. Robert Whelan of the think-thank, Civitas, said: "Up until now we have always taken a dim view about people who go to swimming baths to talk to little boys about sex. Now it seems to be Government policy. This is not progress." [Telegraph, 8 September]"

abstracted from SPUC news

Lord, have mercy !
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Monday, September 11, 2006


Family shot with the characters, taken by DH. Posted by Picasa
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Abby and Helen with Rory the Tiger. Posted by Picasa
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Helen with Bradley Bear back at the caravan site, just before we came back home. Posted by Picasa
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My mum on the beach at Tenby with Abby and Helen. Posted by Picasa
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The island is very rocky, but lush with greenery nonetheless..... Posted by Picasa
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This was taken on the boat, looking across the beach to the island`s guesthouse, which is available for rent. One day....!!! Posted by Picasa
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Part of the Caldey beach and slipway. This is where we caught our boat back to Tenby after a blissfully peaceful and tranquil day. I wish we could have stayed forever. Posted by Picasa
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I prayed for all of you, my dear blog readers and blog friends. This was me lighting one of many candles ! Posted by Picasa
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Abby "writing"/drawing her prayer petition before lighting her own candle. Posted by Picasa
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At the top of the door lintel is this ancient incised angel. This year I managed to get a much better picture of it ! Posted by Picasa
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Some of the many prayer petitions placed by pilgrims. This is one of the ancient doors of the church leading to the old monastic quarters. Posted by Picasa
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I have no idea how old this is, but it depicts St Benedict`s ideal of "Pray and Work". Posted by Picasa
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The ancient priory church and some of the monastic outbuildings. Posted by Picasa
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One of the monks. Posted by Picasa
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Old floor tiling near the original monastic buildings. Posted by Picasa
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The main monastery building from the village green. Posted by Picasa
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Walking through the trees to get to Caldey village, which is just at the end of this path. Posted by Picasa
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DH filming me taking a photograph of him, LOL. Posted by Picasa
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A view of Caldey Island from the beach at Tenby. Posted by Picasa
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St Catherine`s Island after being tweaked by Picasa, to show the fortification better ! Posted by Picasa
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Holidays Part Three


On Tuesday last week we decided to go on the boat trip across to Caldey Island, and 10am saw us chugging out of the bay past St Catherine`s Island, originally turned into a fortification when invasion by Napoleon was considered a threat, and now sadly uninhabited. For a large part of the day this little island is completely cut off from the rest of the beach........

It was still quite overcast, but a rocky outcrop we passed showed these lovely black Cormorants resting and drying out after diving into the sea for fish........
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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Further Thoughts on Feckless Fathers

Many thanks to Stacy for the link to a photo of the father I mentioned earlier.

Just in case anyone thinks I am criticising him for his family size, I am not.
I do not in any way take issue with the fact that he has 16 biological children and 4 step-children. Far from it.
What I take issue with is that he chooses to procreate freely with multiple partners and expects other people to work hard just to provide him with money to do so.

Multiple partners and no contraception is placing his own health and those of his partners` at risk. Period.
Many sexually transmitted diseases contracted by pregnant women can also be passed onto their unborn babies. Syphilis, Chlamydia, HIV, Herpes. There is a long list, and many of these diseases can cause horrific problems for unborn and newly-born infants. He does not believe in contraception, so obviously having multiple partners is a major risk for him and any of his partners.

Multiple partners means a constantly changing succession of new "parents" for children to have to deal with, which can cause emotional problems and does not provide a secure basis for a child`s development.

He "lost touch" with many of his kids for prolonged periods of time, and it took a photographer to get him back in touch with them. Does not sound like the actions of a good and loving father who cares for and supports his kids to me.

It is also very easy to look adoringly at an infant when there is a photographer to record the moment and cash to be gained by selling the photograph and the news stories........ anyone can do that. Doesn`t mean he is a functional and good father.

Sure, he "loves" his kids, and he is most likely a nice person, but he at the end of the day he is an alcoholic living solely on state benefits who is squandering the money the state gives him for his kids on alcohol and tattoos instead.

My husband loves our kids but he doesn`t feel the need to waste what little money we have spare on getting tattoos done of our family tree to prove it....... he would prefer to raise them up properly and make sure they are clothed and fed adequately instead.
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Scary Families

This is the sort of family that hardworking folk like my husband have to support through taxation.


Truly scary that this alcoholic man has fathered 16 children with no less than five separate women and had "lost touch " with so many of his children. Just a tad dysfunctional, even by Blairite standards of morality and behaviour........
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Stealing Christian Treasures

Historic Celtic crosses are being stolen in a wave of interest in Cornish nationalism.

I do have doubts as to how successful the campaign is going to be now that the Telegraph has published the details, though !

Full story here
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Holidays Part Two

In the evening we went to the caravan site`s entertainment complex so the girls could see the Bradley Bear and Rory The Tiger live show, which they love and they still really enjoy it, LOL.


The fun really started when we got back to the caravan and the girls started to squabble over the sleeping arrangements.
Sigh.
We had one double bedroom and two separate twin bedded rooms in the caravan. Would the girls share one bedroom together ? No chance. Both of them wanted to bag the other bed in the room my mum had chosen, so in the end, DH chose the spare room and Abby insisted on having the other bed in his room.

In theory I should have had the delight of spreading myself in a double bed, but it didn`t quite work out like that ! Every hour or two (yawn!) Abby would wake up and whichever parent wasn`t in th room with her was of course the one she desperately *had* to see , so a fair amount of bedroom commuting was done that night.She did eventually decide to sleep in the big bed with me, but the morning zoomed around really quickly to find me heavy-eyed.

Family Council of War was held over Sunday breakfast to decide what was going to be done that day. I was quite keen to see Carew castle and Tidal Mill, especially as the Sealed Knot re-enactment group were holding a Civil War period day, but Helen was less than enthusiastic and we decided in favour of a completely child-orientated day at Folly Farm.


When we checked the web site, DH and I thought it seemed rather over-priced, but I have to nail my colours to the mast and declare myself a complete convert. The website simply did not do it any justice whatsoever, and we all had a great day. We actually spent just over five hours there, and if it hadn`t become very cold and windy, might well have stayed there longer, so the initial cost worked out to be quite reasonable.

The animal holdings were split into wild and farm, nicely mixed. We saw toggenburg goats,(I want one !)llamas, alpacas, Billy goats, miniature shetland ponies, meerkats, raccoons,oryx, mara, ringtailed lemurs, owls, guinea-pigs, rabbits, tortoises, iguanas, zebras, Brazilian tapirs (which were fantastic), lots of birds and rare-breed sheep.

There was a petting zoo for the little ones to hold some of the the smaller animals, and then came the fun bit of bottle-feeding the goat kids. This was brilliant fun for the adults as well as the children, and yes I did have a go !

In the undercover farm section there were donkeys, golden guernesey goats, lots of varieties of rare breed pigs, including some Tamworth piglets which share Helen`s birthday, and a gorgeous Jersey cow, which Helen and I had ago at milking. This was something I always wanted to do, but had never had chance to, and the keeper warned us that the first couple of tries are difficult as you have to wait for the cow to "let her milk down", a reflex many breastfeeding mothers will recognise. Helen managed it second go and I managed it first go, and yes, DH did capture it on the camcorder, LOL.
Pictures will follow in due course, I promise. I haven`t uploaded mine from the camera yet.

There was a huge indoor fairground complex, where most of the rides cost 50p each, but they were real old-fashioned traditional fair rides, witha glorious huge painted carousel of horses, swing chairs, a ghost train (which the girls loved), loads more inside, and outside, a ferris wheel. I`d never been on one, and we did go on it. It was scary (I would never go on a rollercoaster!) but the view from the top was amazing, and to my surprise, Abby loved it.

Several outdoor adventure playgrounds and one huge indoor one were hugely popular with the girls and gave us chance for a much-needed rest before heading back to the caravan to collapse in a crumpled heap, :-)
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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Holidays Part One

On Friday afternoon, whilst we were packing ready to leave on Saturday, Abby complained that her mouth was hurting. With my heart in my own mouth, given the horrendous problems she has had in the past with her mouth, I asked her to open wide and investigated.

We were really surprised to see that one of her lower front teeth was wobbly ! She is not 5 till next month, so it really is earlier than average. Of course, she was a bit upset when I told her it would fall out until she realised that I meant only THAT tooth was going to fall out soon, not all her remaining teeth !

On Saturday morning, we took Basil to the kennels for the first time, and Abby broke her heart at being parted from him. I had to drag him into his pen at the kennels, and he was crying, which nearly broke my heart and made me want to take him straight home and cancel the holiday :-)
Coomon sense prevailed, though, and I heard the door clang behing him and walked back to the car, to be greeted with sobs from Abby because she missed "her boy" and wanted him back. She carried on like this for the full 15 minutes it took to drive home, and DH and I were rolling our eyes at each other in horrified anticiopation of the whole holiday being like this. We reassured her that Basil would love it there, and would be able to see his mum and dad, as he was bred there, and that he was just going on holidays as well. Mercifully this worked.

Car packed, we drove to pick up my mum, who was coming with us, and set off for Tenby. The wesather was vile; high winds and heavy rain, but we had a clear run for the journey and got there in an hour and twenty minutes.

We picked up our caravan keys and found our really nice luxury caravan, complete with power shower, double-glazing and central heating and three bedrooms. It was warmer than our house, LOL.

Having said that, it should have been, considering that we found out it would cost £45,000 to buy one of these caravans brand new. I know people buy them on Hire Purchase and rent then out for large parts of the year to cover the loan repayments, but that is more than I paid for my first house !

After we unpacked, we piled back in the car for the five minute trip into Tenby proper, which is an exquisite little town. A slide-show tour , courtesy of the BBc, can be found here

We stopped off for a meal, and Abby was getting well stuck in to a plate of sausage and chips when I thought she looked funny. I asked her to open her mouth and not only was the wobbly tooth gone (in less than 24 hours from the time it had started going wobbly, which amazed me), but a casual yet careful search of her plate revealed she had swallowed it.

Considerable reassurance was needed that the tooth fairy would understand that the tooth was in her tummy and not under her pillow that night, and to cut a long story short, the Tooth Fairy did visit her in the caravan.

More later......
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Snippets

Have any of you transferred over to the new Beta Blogger yet ?

If so, is it worth doing, or is it causing any problems?

One blog I read has gone over, and people can`t comment unless they have a Google account, which is a pain.
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Friday, September 08, 2006

Home Again

We got home safely on Weds afternoon and the girls went back to school yesterday.

Cleaning up the mayhem generated by holiday washiong occupied most of Thursday, but I promise I will try to post about our trip very soon :-)

We did get to Caldey Island, wayhay!!
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Friday, September 01, 2006

Farewell

We will be off on holiday tomorrow morning, so I won`t be posting again till Thursday next week.

Take care, everyone, God bless !

I will be praying for you all when and if we make the trip to Caldey Island - weather forecast is better for next week :-)

A Happy and Blessed New Church Year!
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