Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Postcards

As some of you know my act of outrageousness for next month is to send a postcard everyday. I went out yesterday and bought two packs of postcards so that should cover the 31 days of July. Some of you have already 'signed up' for one of my postcards. If you are interested in receiving one then there's still time. Just email your address to kestrelrivers@googlemail.com. 

You might remember my pledge for this month's act of outrageousness was to read a book from a genre I would not normally read. I decided to read some non fiction and chose The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford at Spud's recommendation. I read the book cover to cover, but what I actually took in would barely fill a chapter! I think that gives you some idea of how I got on with it. I found the book mind-numbingly boring slightly tedious, even though it was supposedly one of the more accessible books about economy. The trouble with me is that I will often switch off when I am reading facts and figures, and I think that's what consistently happened when I was reading The Undercover Economist. So I probably won't attempt any more books about economy. 

Just to bring you up to date, I am returning home tomorrow as my parents are throwing me a leaving party on Saturday! The party is a Ceilidh (like a barn dance) and I chose it because I attended one before and had so much fun. It also reminded me of the balls in Jane Austen's wonderful novels, and I felt a Ceilidh was the contemporary equivalent. 

This will be my last trip home before my youngest brother moves into my bedroom, so I will spend most of my time packing everything up. I am also, as you know, moving into my own accommodation next Tuesday. 

And, to bring you up to date on the job front, I have an informal interview on Thursday with a contact I acquired at the job fair. I also received a new voicemail message yesterday about another job (the one recommended to me by my interviewer last week when I didn't get the job). I returned the call and my application form has now gone through for that too. So everything's moving on fairly quickly. 

Oh, and on a final note, it's been nice to hear from so many thunder and lightning fans! Lol

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Roll on Thunder

It was stiflingly humid today, not that I'm complaining because I adore the sunshine and the opportunity it provides to wear short sleeves. However, I do feel the time has come where we need a thunder storm to clear the air. Just an overnight one so that the sunshine can commence the following day. 

I love thunder storms, especially at night. I like the way that first, faint peal of thunder reaches into my dreams and lifts me to the surface of consciousness, and that first flash of lightning illuminates the room just for a split second, as though someone flicked the light switch on then off. I love curling up beneath the covers and peeking through the curtains, shivering with delight as the first drops of rain begin to fall in the street below under the cover of darkness. There's nothing like listening to the rain fall from the comfort of your bed. As the thunder increases in volume I find myself inevitably jumping with each rumble, but what I feel is not fear, but joy. I wait until it has passed overhead; until the lightning is no longer so intense, and the thunder peals faintly again from distant hills. Only then do I settle down and try to sleep again. 

The last time I witnessed a storm like this was on the eve of my school prom. My youngest brother was afraid and couldn't sleep so I sat with him and comforted him. That was five years ago. 

Oh, let there be another storm like that soon!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Men: I cannot Fathom!

'Do you even know what that [PMS] means?'
Jonah pushed his glasses up. 'I'm not a little kid anymore. It means pissed-at-men syndrome.'

From The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

This quote made me laugh today as I'm feeling a little frustrated with Spud. A strong part of me doesn't want to write this as I don't want anyone to assume we are having any major 'issues' (we're not). I'm just feeling fed up because he spent all day with our car. I mean, how long does it take to wash a car? Okay, given, washing was just part of the procedure, but do you want to know how long the whole thing took? Six hours! And then he went off to the supermarket. So the bitch in me is feeling pretty jealous. And maybe I'm being completely unreasonable, as I know I could have joined him outside or even accompanied him to the supermarket. Instead I stayed indoors and read, which was fine. I would've read outside but there is nowhere to sit. 

I think perhaps the tension stems from the fact that I am camped out in his room and living in a suitcase. There is no room for me, let alone my belongings, in his room because it's such a tip. I miss having my own room, my own space, My girl friends are three hundred miles away so I can't go and have a coffee with them and vent my emotions to them. And I don't have any phone signal. Everything is so different here!

All I can say is thank goodness I'm moving to my own place soon! Don't get me wrong, things are great. I'm just fed up with my current situation, and sometimes some small thing Spud does is the last straw and I feel like taking things out on him. Does that make sense? I'm also approaching that time of the month, if you get my drift...

Thanks for listening. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be back to my old upbeat self. 

Things to Do

Pack up

Apply for job seeker's allowance

Ditto jobs

Notify bank of change of address

Ditto DVLA

Register with a GP

Ditto a dentist

Find a church to go to

Buy some new shoes!

Locate a mobility centre so that I can have my build fitted to any new shoes

Buy a dongle so that I can still access the internet!



I move in just over a week!

Friday, 25 June 2010

Sell Myself

I didn't get the job, but it seems the interview wasn't as terrible as I thought. The woman I spoke to gave me some reassuring feedback and some useful advice. She said first of all I was capable of doing the job with the support available. She also said I came across as patient and sensitive, a real team player, and advised me that I needed to sell myself more, as I didn't mention everything I had put on my application form. She told me that there's another position coming up soon, one that involves supporting a child in a mainstream school and with my permission she's going to give my name and number to the headmaster. 

You may also be interested to hear that B got the job (no surprises there). I'm not too disheartened. It was the result I was expecting. I am applying for two more positions. My prospective landlady gave me a few more suggestions, and I acquired plenty of new routes from the job fair yesterday. So it isn't the end of the world. It was my first formal interview and I have some idea of how to prepare for the next one. 

God has something perfect for me, and maybe I will find out what that is soon. In the mean time I will meditate on Jeremiah 29.11: 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'. 

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Keep Trying

I am in a ratty mood. Or, at least I was. Now I feel rather worn out and could hardly care less. 

It hasn't been a good day. In fact, it has been a really, really crap day and if I had a duvet I think I would just curl up underneath it and stay put. The good news is I very rarely get days like this. 

I had my first formal interview today. I'm sure you don't need to ask to know that it did not go well. 

I struggled with the task set, and didn't answer the questions competently at all. And then, once the interview was over and the secretary was going through my CRB form she pointed out that I had made a mistake so I had to fill it out again. And when she got me another form, I was so shaken up over the interview that I made another mistake, a real silly one this time, and had to ask her for another form. 

Even if the task and interview had gone well, it is highly unlikely that I would have been appointed. There were two other candidates, let's call them A and B. A was a middle aged woman who had travelled 230 miles to be there today. B was in his late twenties and lived locally. B was the problem. 

First off, he had the qualification that the panel desired (although only the willingness to train for it was essential). 

Secondly, his training had involved dealings with the unit so he knew everybody there including the whole panel. 

Thirdly, he was very well prepared and had pages and pages of careful research. And he didn't half lord it over. He must have taken one look at his 'competition' and known he had already secured the position. But that's just the bitch in me speaking. He really was worthy of the job and if they haven't appointed him then they must be mad! (I haven't heard yet, but we'll come to that in a minute).

So I returned home feeling rather dejected, and trying to fight off the tears. I changed, had some lunch, and then Spud and I went to a job fair. It was really helpful, and I feel a little more hopeful than I did earlier. 

Afterwards we mooched around the city centre. It was so hot and muggy, and I was beginning to feel light headed. I was still wearing my interview shoes and they were rubbing my heels painfully. When I was descending the stairs in W H Smiths my heel must have got caught and I stumbled, almost losing my balance. A couple coming towards me looked concerned, and the man held up his arms as though in attempt to steady me, but luckily I regained my balance myself. It was very embarrassing though and at that point I really was willing the ground to swallow me up. 

At my request, Spud and I headed back to the car, which we'd parked on a friend's drive. She was at home when we got back and invited us in for a refreshing drink. It was much needed, and I felt my spirit reviving as I sipped a can of Pepsi, straight from her fridge. 

As we were leaving, my mobile phone received a text message to indicate I had a new voicemail message. It was from one of my interviewers and requested that I ring back. My phone hadn't rung at all. I'm sure if it had then I would have heard it or felt its vibration. Although I tried ringing back (several times) it was too late. So thanks to my phone and its temperamental signal I won't find out that I haven't got the job until tomorrow. What a horrible day!

Well, it wasn't entirely horrible. Something happened just before the interview to make my day slightly better. The post came and I received a lovely letter from Bethany! So thank you Bethany for making my day. Your letter was the only good part of it. Oh, and the lovely supportive comments I've received from people, so thank you. 

Monday, 21 June 2010

A Birthday

Today Spud's youngest brother, known here as Little One, turned 3. His main present was a big cardboard box of assorted Brio. For those of you who don't know, Brio consists of wooden track and trains, although there are all sorts of accessories these days. Little One's box contained three different kinds of bridges, two level crossings, a station, a fire station and a motorised train, as well as the usual push-along trains, trucks and carriages, and of course, plenty of track! So Spud and I spent an hour or so helping Little One set up the track. As both of us played with Brio when we were young, it was a great opportunity for us to reminisce. 

I can't believe Little One is 3 now. I've known him since he was a tiny baby, as Spud and I started going out six weeks after Little One's birth. Because Spud and I have led a long distance relationship until now, I often wouldn't see Little One for months at a time, so the changes in him were quite striking! Once Spud and I went away on holiday for a week. When we left, Little One couldn't walk, and when we arrived back he could! Just by watching Little One develop and grow, I can see how quickly time is passing. After the summer holidays he will start nursery, and in just over a year he will begin at school. 

Spud and I aren't getting married for another two years, but from witnessing Little One's developments over the last three years I realise how quickly August 2012 is going to come around!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

My Father

He is the most selfless man I know. He is generous with his time, even though as a teacher he does not have much to spare for himself. He is a hard worker, both at work and at home. He often spends weekends ferrying people about, doing the shopping, working in the garden, writing reports or planning, and cooking. I rarely see him out of work mode, or relaxing. 


He is quiet and reflective, but has a fantastic sense of humour. He is patient and kind. I have inherited so many of his interests and qualities, and I often see myself in him. I look up to him and love spending time with him. I miss being with him today, but enjoyed hearing his voice on the phone this afternoon. 


He is a loving and dedicated husband and father, and deserves to be acknowledged for all that he does, not just today but everyday. Happy Father's Day Dad! I love you!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

On the Go

My earliest readers will remember me announcing the completion of the first draft of my novel. Sadly, I haven't had much chance to read over the draft since, and over the last few months my enthusiasm has waned alarmingly. I was expecting to have to do a complete rewrite. However, when I turned to my work yesterday I was pleasantly surprised. I read through my work with a fresh mindset and was completely absorbed by the plot and characters. I was also pleased with my quality of writing which I was expecting to be disappointed by. I was particularly impressed by the second and third parts which I feel require hardly any work at all. Only the first part needs a serious rewrite. 

Strangely, reading through my work encouraged me and enabled me to summon back my enthusiasm. I've managed to break through my writer's block at last, and now my project is on the go again. I'm so excited!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

The Outrageousness Continues

So far this year I've managed to do something outrageous each month in keeping with my pledge. However, this month, whether because so much was going on, I was really stuck for inspiration. Thankfully, help came from my sister-in-law to be, Bethany, who came up with the ingenious idea of reading a book from a genre I wouldn't normally read. The next task was to decide what to read. My first thought was to read a crime novel, or alternatively a Mills and Boons, neither of which I would normally touch with a bargepole! Then, Spud suggested I read something that was non-fiction, so at his recommendation I selected, from his bookshelves, The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford. I haven't started reading it yet, but intend to once I've finished this post. 

For next month's outrageous project I've decided to send a postcard for every day in July. If you would like to be one of the 31 recipients then please let me know, and send me your address by email. 

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Life by the Beach

Apparently, wherever you are in Cornwall, you can never be more than twenty miles from the sea. I think a part of my soul will forever dwell there. I can understand exactly why Daphne du Maurier loved Cornwall so. Because my grandparents have lived there for over a decade, I have enjoyed many holidays there, but not in recent years. So I was thrilled when Spud suggested a mini camping holiday there. Our camp site was just outside Newquay, and perfectly situated. We were just a few minutes away from the beach, shops, and tourist attractions. Because we were outside the tourist season we were able to book three nights at very little cost, and the site was also relatively quiet and empty. There was a nature trail where we encountered some of the site's permanent residents:




On our first night, after pitching the tent and organising some grub, we drove the short distance to Fistral Beach in Newquay, and arrived just in time to see the sun set:














The following day we headed to St Austell and visited what is probably Cornwall's biggest tourist attraction, the Eden Project. For those of you who don't know, this is where the world's biggest greenhouse is located. I didn't take many photographs in the first of the two biomes, which was so humid my camera lens misted up! I did get a couple towards the end though:



I've visited the Eden Project on two previous occasions, the most recent of which was seven years ago, although this was Spud's first time. We were both impressed. It had expanded a lot since my last visit and there was so much to see!









That evening, after catching up with Hannah, a friend of mine from university, we went to Par sands. For several consecutive summers, while on holiday in Cornwall, my family would spend an evening in Par. We would buy fish and chips, and then drive to the beach and eat there. Again, it is a place I haven't been to in years, and so it was a real delight to revisit. Unfortunately it was rather overcast, although dry, so we weren't able to watch the sun set. 



It was very windy!


On our last day we visited Truro, and then went on to a beach called Polly Joke. 



We then returned to our camp site and cooked our last meal over the portable stove, and posed for a few pictures naturally!



Sunday, 13 June 2010

Exciting News

Spud and I enjoyed our time away and I hope to get some pictures up soon of our camping trip. However, we've both got more pressing concerns on our agenda at the moment because we've both got job interviews coming up this week. I am so excited I could turn a cartwheel, but I am also slightly nervous as I have never attended a formal job interview before. When I attended my first job 'interview' I was seventeen and the manager took me out for coffee across the road from his business and an informal chat. The interview for my second job was a tour of the premises and an opportunity to meet some of the students I would be working with, followed by an informal conversation with the care manager on duty. On neither occasion was there any doubt about my having secured the position. This next interview is going to be somewhat different. 

So in the mean time I'll be preparing for this interview by ensuring my braille skills are up to date. My father's brought a brailler home from work for me to practice on. The post is as a specialist support assistant, working with visually impaired students. It would be an excellent opportunity to progress from my previous position, and further the skills I have already acquired. The interview is just the encouragement I need, having applied for eleven jobs with no success. 

Spud and I will also be travelling back to his tomorrow, so I am going to be busy today packing up my belongings and ensuring I leave everything in order. It's looking to be quite a busy day!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

25 Things

See previous post for an explanation.

1. I am currently applying for jobs #11 and #12, and I have just sent my CV to jobs #13, #14 and #15

2. I am competing in a 5k run tonight. I have done absolutely no training. This will be my first run since the half marathon last month

3. Spud and I are going on a 3 night camping holiday in Cornwall tomorrow!

4. Summer is my favourite time of the year

5. My first kiss occurred on a cliff top under a clear, star filled sky shortly before midnight. I was 18 years old and Spud was the lucky guy ;)

6. Our song is 'Kiss Me' by Sixpence None the Richer

7. I don't think of myself as a materialist. Whenever my room gets cluttered and I feel I have accumulated too many possessions, I have to have a ruthless clear out

8. Every night I spend about 5 or 10 minutes listening to God. He doesn't always speak to me, but I really feel close to Him afterwards. I often feel as though I'm glowing!

9. I want to walk down the aisle to 'Wedding Day at Troldhaugen'

10. I never, ever get bored. I always have too much to do or think about

11. Spud and I want 6 children, although I have warned him that I may not want any more after the first!

12. I haven't come up with anything outrageous to do this month. If you have any ideas, please contact me!

13. My aunt (who was adopted into the family as a baby) was related to Benazir Bhutto. I can't remember what the exact connection was, but it was reasonably close. I have a picture of them together

14. At my previous job I was nicknamed 'Cappi' (variations included Cappuccino) by a student with very limited speech. Cappi was the closest she could get to saying my name, and somehow it stuck!

15. Despite learning musical instruments since the age of 6, I've never grasped music theory and always struggled to read music

16. My earliest memory is of boarding a plane to Germany with my parents when I was two. The plane was very loud and I because I didn't like the noise I screamed

17. I have needed glasses since the age of 8, and been wearing contact lenses since I was 16. I can see very little when I am wearing neither

18. I passed my driving test, second time round, three and a half years ago with only six minors

19. I started talking at a fairly early age, and I'm told that I could sing 'Row, row, row the Boat' at five months

20. I really, really hate shoe shopping

21. This is because my left foot is a size and a half smaller than my right. My feet are ridiculously small which means I'm still in children's shoes

22. My left leg is also two and a half centimetres shorter than my right, which doesn't sound like a huge difference, but despite this I have to have a build fixed to the bottom of my left shoe. This (as well as the sizing issues) means that shoe shopping is a real nightmare. I have just two pairs of shoes which fit comfortably, and none which are suitable for formal occasions and interviews!

23. Due to the slight difference between the length of my legs, my body is ever so slightly wonky, although this is only noticeable if I'm in my swimming costume, or not wearing much

24. The right side of my body is also marginally larger than my left (although again, this is barely noticeable), e.g. my right leg is slightly larger than my left, ditto my wrists

25. I don't swear and I've never uttered (or typed or written) the f word

I'll be back on Saturday evening folks! ;)

Tagged (Twice)

I've just about caught up with everyone's news up, and while I was reading through all your posts from last week I discovered I'd been tagged. Twice. By my friends Mariel and Sarah. So, I am now going to do both back to back. And seeing as Mariel tagged me first, I guess I will start with her. I am not going to tag anyone, but invite anyone who wishes to respond to this. Enjoy!

  1. Create a New Blog Post.
  2. Paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your title as "Getting to Know Each Other!"
  3. Tagged as many people as you like :)
  4. Contact the bloggers to let them know they've been tagged
1. What time did you get up this morning?
- Around 8.30, although I went back to bed with a good book after making a cup of tea.

2. How do you like your steak?
- I'm not big on steak. However, if I was to have steak I would ask for it to be medium to well done.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
- The Last Song, which I went to see a few weeks ago with Dearest Friend.

4. What is your favorite TV show?
- I don't really watch TV. I'd much rather read a book. I do love Friends though and have the DVD box set.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
- I don't really know. Nowhere too far from my loved ones.

6. What did you have for breakfast?
- A cup of tea. I was considering eating something, but I realise it's lunchtime now.

7. What is your favorite cuisine?
- Indian.

8. What foods do you dislike?
- I absolutely hate seafood, but other than that I'm not too fussy.

9. Favorite place to eat?
- There's a nice place down the road from us which does the most fantastic pie of the day! Unfortunately the last two occasions we ate there were Sundays, the one day pie is unavailable :(

10. Favorite dressing?
- I'm not really bothered with dressing

11. What kind of vehicle do you drive?
- Spud and I recently bought our first car: a Perodua Kelisa. Nobody has ever heard of it, but it's so much fun to drive. Seriously, do you remember me telling you how much I hated driving? Well, I'm falling in love with driving all over again!

12. What are your favorite clothes?
- I'm totally loving my grey dress, a recent purchase of mine.

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? . . .
- Maybe one of the remote Scottish islands, or Iceland maybe. I hear you can see the Northern Lights there.

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?
- Half full.

15. Where would you want to retire?
- Any place that I could call home. And close to my loved ones.

16. Favorite time of day?
-  Evening, I think. Or night time.

17. Where were you born?
- Swindon, UK.

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?
- I don't really watch sports but I enjoy watching gymnastics and figure skating when it's on.

19. Who do you think will not tag you back?
- No idea.

20. Person you expect to tag you back first?
- Don't know.

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this?
- Everyone who responds.

22. Bird watcher?
- No, although my parents are pretty keen and my brother used to be.

23. Are you a morning person or a night person?
- Morning.

24. Do you have any pets?
- My brothers have a guinea pig called Fudge.

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share?
-  Spud and I are going on a 3 night camping holiday tomorrow.

26. What did you want to be when you were little?
- From a very young age I wanted to be a vet, but when I entered my teens I lost interest in animals, and became horribly squeamish, and realised just how hard Science was. For the next four years I wanted to teach, then I realised that teachers spent most of the holidays planning/marking, etc.

27. What is your best childhood memory?
- I'm not sure. I have so many!

28. Are you a cat or dog person?
- Neither.

29. Are you married?
- Not yet.

30. Always wear your seat belt?
- Yes.

31. Been in a car accident?
- No.

32. Any pet peeves?
- I can't stand sexism. I also hate to be patronised.

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings?
- Ham and pineapple.

34. Favorite Flower?
- Violets.

35. Favorite ice cream?
- Cherry.

36. Favorite fast food restaurant?
- I'm not a big fan of fast food.

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test?
- Only once - I passed second time!

38. From whom did you get your last email?
- Someone called Caroline Astley, who sent me an application pack for a job as a learning support assistant.

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?
- I don’t have one.

40. Do anything spontaneous lately?
- Probably, although I can't think of anything specific.

41. Like your job?
- I am currently unemployed!

42. Broccoli?
- I love it!

43. What was your favorite vacation?
-  I loved our holiday in Brittany last year. Although I also love the Lake District because it's so beautiful.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with?
- Spud and Dearest Friend.

45. What are you listening to right now?
- My laptop humming.

46. What is your favorite color?
- Blue.

47. How many tattoos do you have?
- None. And I don't plan on getting any.

48. How many are you tagging for this quiz?
- Anyone who wishes to respond.

49. What time did you finish this quiz?
- 12.56pm

50. Coffee drinker?
- Yes. Although I prefer tea. 


Look out for my response to Sarah's '25 things' later on...

Monday, 7 June 2010

Three Weeks with My Brother


Nicholas Sparks is one of my favourite authors if I'm looking for a light, moving and heart warming read. While his novels (all of which are romance) tend to follow the same narrative structure, they are enjoyable and easy to get into. I've read all of his novels apart from his most recent, The Last Song.

Yesterday I finished reading his only non fictional work; his memoir, Three Weeks with My Brother, and I must admit, I think I enjoyed it even more than his fictional works. Three Weeks with My Brother follows Nicholas and his brother Micah, as they spend three weeks on a once in a lifetime around the world trip. However, consistent flashbacks follow the brothers from birth to the present. Early into adulthood, Nicholas and Micah were caught in a series of personal tragedies which served only to drive the brothers closer. The book is a tribute to their bond. It is entertaining and deeply moving, and has the potential to make you laugh and cry. 

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Holiday Snaps

Spud and I arrived at our destination between 5 and 6. We were the last of our party to arrive, but we made pretty good time, having left just after 9 that morning and travelling quite a distance across the country. Spud worked out a good route and we also managed to avoid the worst of the traffic. 

We were a party of 14, comprising of my parents and brothers, my aunt, uncle and 3 young cousins, another aunt, and my grandparents. We stayed at a Christian guild holiday home in Grange over Sands, but rather than staying at the big house, we were housed in 3 lodges in the grounds. They were positioned on an incline above the house and the view from there was spectacular! We could see Morecambe Bay, and all the way across the waters to Lancaster.

After a day of travelling, no one felt like venturing out too far the following day. Spud and I attended the service at the house. It was the first time I'd been to a church service in weeks, and it refreshed me spiritually. The speaker was really excellent and there was plenty of worship in song, followed by some quiet time which provided the opportunity to really listen to God.

That afternoon, Spud and I went for a walk with my brothers. There was a station at the bottom of the drive, so we crossed the railway tracks and walked through the field beyond until we reached the shore. Here are some of the pictures from our little jaunt:











The following day was Bank holiday Monday, and we knew that everywhere would be heaving. We caught the steam train to the bottom of Windermere, and spent the afternoon by the lake side:







That night we received a visitor, just upward from our lodge:


A deer (I appreciate that the photograph isn't all that clear. This was the best of several shots).

The next day the weather turned on us. It was decided that a town would be our best option if we were going out, as it would be more sheltered, so we opted for Kendal. Unfortunately, may tourists seemed to have the same idea, and the free car park was packed. Thankfully, Spud and I have a really tiny car so we were able to squeeze into a small space that was going. We mooched around the town, and then visited the castle on the way home:




On Wednesday we went to Coniston waters where we hired Kayaks. I left my camera behind as I didn't want to risk getting it wet (we did get pretty wet, although nobody fell into the lake!) We then went on to Keswick where we stopped at a mountainside cafe that Spud visits every year with his family, and Castlerigg stone circle. Again, no photographs I'm afraid. 

On Thursday my father and brothers, along with my aunt, uncle and cousins, climbed Scarfell Pike (England's tallest mountain). I would have loved to have climbed the mountain too, but Spud has a serious heart condition which prevents him from undertaking such strenuous activities, and I was also feeling under the weather that day. Instead, the two of us drove to Carlisle so that I could do my research, while my mother went out for a drive with my aunt and grandparents. It was a very hot day and a fairly long drive to Carlisle, and I felt pretty weak and light headed for most of the day. We visited the castle and cathedral, and then wandered around the city centre:


There was also a curious display in the town centre, involving lots and lots of cardboard boxes!




Friday was the last day of our holiday, and we set off to Grasmere. We went to the churchyard, in search of a plaque my grandparents commissioned in the name of their second son, my late uncle. We hadn't realised just how many there would be:


And, of course, as a former English Literature student I took the opportunity to visit Wordsworth's grave:



We sampled Grasmere's famous gingerbread. It was delicious!


The slogan of this shop was clearly inspired by what is probably Wordsworth's most famous poem:




On the way home we took a detour and stopped by a lake. Spud and I walked the perimeter with my parents:



Midway around the lake we discovered a fallen tree embedded with coins, which passers by had driven into the bark:






That night after our last dinner together at the house, we went outside to pose for family photographs:



With the grandchildren:


With the children:


And that was how we celebrated my grandparents' Golden Wedding Anniversary: 50(+) years of love.