Sunday, 30 October 2011

Treasured Moments

Madison and Vicki Lou
I very nearly kidnapped two little girls yesterday. I was going to make them stay at my house and keep them all for myself (I doubt it would have taken all much kidnapping tough, they would have quite happily stayed with me). Of course, I would have had to kidnap their mum along with them as well, I don't think I could handle two tiny tearaways all by myself, but then I would have had my three most favourite girls with me all the time.

My daughter and her girls came to visit me again and we had an absolutely brilliant time. They arrived early in the morning and spent the full day here, it was wonderful.

Madison
Like the last time they were here, all we did was stay indoors and enjoyed our time together. The TV was switched on and tuned in to the cartoon channel but I don't think anyone was interested in watching it, we just talked and played with each other and had a great time.

There's no stopping little Madison now, at ten months old she has found her feet and wants to be on them all the time. Put her on the floor and within seconds she is using the furniture to pull herself up onto her feet - she managed to walk the length of my room by holding on to the coffee table and the sofa. Any day now she's going to be able to get around without holding on to things, she's going to be all over the place (her mum is just about to find out what 'hard work' really means).

Vicki Lou
Vicki Lou on the other hand is already running about - but in the nicest possible way. I don't think I've ever known a child that wants to be so helpful, she will do absolutely anything for you. Ask her to get a nappy for her sister and off she goes, ask her to put something in the bin and she happily trots off with the rubbish. If we try to put anything into the bin ourselves she will tell us off for not letting her lift the bin lid up for us (although she's not quite strong enough yet to use the foot pedal).

It's the simple things like that which are the most memorable. Vicki Lou was sitting on the side in the kitchen while granddad made a cup of tea and we had the most interesting conversation; she doesn't like burgers but she likes McDonalds, her sister likes burgers but Vicki prefers sausages, her mum takes sugar in her tea, and Vicki has her own special cup (and I was using the wrong one).

Sisterly love
And then there are the moments when Vicki Lou wants to show you something. I might have been having a conversation with her mum or trying to do something else, but if Vicki wants to show you something then she will do, she won't let up until she has your attention. Or the magical moment when she carried her 'new chair' to the front door to show it to her dad when he came to pick them up. All these moments are now safely locked away in my memory bank to be retrieved at a later date when I need to put a smile on my face.

It was only yesterday when they were here but it seems so long ago. I'm already looking forward to the next time....

Friday, 28 October 2011

Wakefield Wanderers

I was a bit disappointed with the 'hole-in-the-wall' at my local supermarket yesterday. I went to the ATM to draw out a bit of cash from my bank but as I didn't need a lot I decided that I should only withdraw £10.00, that would be more than enough to cover what I needed. They've changed the dispensing procedures at the ATM's though and I couldn't withdraw the £10.00 that I wanted. The machine now only gives out £20.00 notes so you have to make your withdrawals in multiples of £20.00; ie. £20.00, £40.00, £60.00 etc. What about the people who don't want to withdraw that much? Do they think we're all rolling in it, or is this just a sneaky government ploy to get people to spend more money? Needless to say, I went elsewhere to get my money.

Wakefield town centre
After I'd eventually got my cash, the three old codgers went on another one of their little 'jollies', but not to Manchester as I mentioned yesterday. It was decided that we would go to an art gallery in Wakefield instead, but we messed up with the timing and didn't get there. We didn't set off till around midday and by the time we'd got to Wakefield, found somewhere for lunch (another Weatherspoons), and then finished our meal, it was coming up to 3.00pm so we decided on leaving the art gallery for another day.

It was the first time that I had ever been to Wakefield town centre and in that one visit I came to the conclusion that Wakefield is much better than Huddersfield. We didn't get to cover the whole town but I think the bit that we saw was bigger than Huddersfield town centre. In Wakefield there were a variety of shops, unlike Huddersfield where every other shop seems to be a charity shop or one of these new style 'Mediterranean' cafes. The whole place seemed a lot cleaner and more pleasing to the eye, and although there were a few vacant shops, it didn't look half as bad as Huddersfield.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Spotless

What a difference a day makes. I can honestly say that my house is now spotless. After a deep cleaning session yesterday there's not a thing out of place. I can now sit and relax for the rest of the day and not have to worry about doing anything.

Well, maybe not ALL day, but perhaps for a couple of hours. With the texts that have been passed around at the beginning of the week, it looks as though it's time for the old codgers to go on another outing. I'm not entirely sure where we'll be going but the Science and Industry Museum at Manchester has been mentioned. Wherever we go though, it should be interesting.

We've had a few trips during the summer where we have been outdoors for most of the visits, even going so far as having an attempt at a picnic on one occasion, but I think those sort of trips are out of the question now. It looks as though we have seen the last of the good weather for this year so I should imagine that any type of indoor attraction would be preferable.

Unless we wait until there's a blanket of snow on the ground and then go for a picnic in the snow.... now there's a thought.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

My House Is A Tip

I'm really disappointed in myself today. It's not like me one little bit, but I've let my house get into a right state. It's a total mess!

There's a cushion on the floor that I must have brushed into when I went to bed, and I've just seen how dusty the place is - I could do with a bit of help from 'Mr Sheen'. There's an unwashed spoon in the sink and, worst of all, I've just noticed that one of my ornaments is a millimetre out of place. I'm having serious problems today.

I know, I know. Some of you are probably saying that this guy has got far too much time on his hands, and do you know what? You're absolutely spot on! If my biggest worry is an unwashed spoon or an ornament not in its right spot, then the term 'serious problems' really does come into play, just not in the same context as above.

Seriously though, the dust in here is unbelievable. If something's not done about it soon I think I might have to invest in one of those face mask things so that I'm not breathing it all in. I might have to look into hiring someone to come in and do my cleaning for me.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Holding Zones

At some stage in the not too distant future, in an overpopulated futuristic earth, every town and city will have several out-of-town 'holding zones' where they can store all the unwanted elements of society. People will be rounded up and placed into these holding zones and kept out of the way. There won't be any bars on the windows, the people won't be locked in little cells, and they'll be free to come and go as they please. They will even be allowed to have visitors at any time of the day or night, but it will still be a 'holding zone' where they will be expected to remain.

These zones will have an important role to play. In years to come housing will be dilapidated and overcrowded, homeless people will fill the streets and food will be scarce; most of the people will survive on rations produced by local councils. The holding zones will prevent the majority of their occupants from roaming the streets with each individual placed into their own little unit within the complex. The majority of the zones will be filled to capacity but there will always be an abundance of people placed on to the 'waiting list' to fill any of the vacancies that arise.

When a unit does become empty there will be a rapid response team ready to come and prepare it for the next person. They will clear away the body and any meagre possessions that the individual may have accumulated, and over the next few days they will prepare the unit for its new occupant. Then the cycle starts all over again. Someone else will play the waiting game - waiting for their own time to come. The holding zones will always have a quick turn-over.

That 'not-too-distant future' is not as far away as you might think though, these places already exist. Only at the moment they are not called 'holding zones', they are called 'retirement homes'.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Home Shopping

I've just done a bit of online shopping and it got me thinking as to how we used to manage in days gone by. It's so easy nowadays to stay at home and do your shopping from the comfort of your armchair. You don't have to go out in all kinds of weather, you don't have to hang around waiting for a bus and then struggle to get on it with all those heavy bags, and you don't have to wear yourself out carrying those bags from the bus stop to your house. (Ok, so maybe it's different if you have a car, but not all of us are that fortunate).

Even if you do have a car it could still work out cheaper. It would probably depend on how far you are from the supermarket but taking into consideration the cost of fuel for the car and then comparing this against the supermarket's delivery charge of £3.00, over time it could save you quite a few pennies. It's certainly cheaper than paying bus fares of £1.70 each way. It's even cheaper if you are going to be in all day and you don't mind what time they deliver your shopping, in that case the delivery charge is only £2.00.

How did we ever manage in the days before computers? I know we had a lot more energy back then and probably thought nothing of catching two buses while carrying loads of shopping bags (and at a time when the bus fare was probably less than 5p each way), but for all the heavy stuff - the computer wins every time.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Unexpected Visitors

I had some unexpected visitors yesterday. My daughter and grand-daughters came from out of town and spent the afternoon with me. It was one of the nicest surprises I've had for a long time.

We didn't go anywhere, we just sat and talked and I was able to play with the girls but, unfortunately, I never once thought of getting the camera out and taking a few pictures. I should have done, especially as Madison is now finding her feet and is able to walk. She still needs to hold on to the furniture but she has learned how to stand up by herself and she can walk the whole length of the sofa. She's still not confident enough to walk unaided but she's getting there. I think she's doing really well to say that she is only ten months old.

Vicki Lou on the other hand, well, there's no stopping her. At three years old she is full of energy and always on the move. I don't think she sat down for more than a few minutes at a time before she was up and finding something else to do. What I'd give to have that sort of energy again. Her talking is coming along nicely too, she's managing to say what she wants and its a lot easier to understand her now. I don't think she fully understands what she is saying yet though because, after going to to bathroom and weighing herself on granddad's scales, she came back into the living room and proudly announced that she is two stone. I'm sure she has no idea what "two stone" is, but it was great to see her being so outspoken about it.

I don't think it's going to be long before her mum and dad are telling her to be quiet. It's funny how parents spend the early years teaching their children how to walk and talk, then for the rest of their childhood they're telling them to 'sit down and shut up'. I don't have to put up with the non-stop talking for every minute of every day, so I'm quite happy for the girls to come along and talk to me. Ever since Vicki Lou was born I've said to her mum that I can't wait to have a full-blown conversation with her, where we can sit and discuss the day's events, what she's been doing, what she thinks, and what she'd like. That day is not so far away now, it's not going to be long before we can sit and have our conversations.

It's great seeing the girls, it really is, but it makes me feel a bit guilty. Before they were born it was just me and my daughter. It was just us two that used to do things together, it was just the two of us that used to go places, and it was us that used to have those long conversations. We used to talk for hours.

It doesn't seem that long ago that Tracy used to come to stay at my house overnight and we'd put a DVD on to watch. We might have started the movie at around 7.00pm, but we never got to see any of it - we'd talk all the way through it. And we would often carry on talking till one or two o'clock in the morning before one of us realised that it was past our bed time. But even that changed during her later visits. She had to get up early for work so we had to stop with the long chats so that she could have an early night.

I can't remember what we used to talk about, but I know we talked for hours on end, and it wasn't just a one-off either, it was like that every time she visited. We had to tell each other to stop talking if we wanted to watch a DVD. And that's why I feel guilty when she comes with the girls. It seems that all my attention is on the girls and Tracy is somehow pushed into the background.

Obviously that's not how it is, but that's how it feels. We don't get to do anything together any more. It feels as though we're not as close as we used to be but that's life I suppose. We all have to move on, we can't live in the past forever. It's a few years away yet, but before you know it, it's going to be Tracy's turn to be having those late night conversations with Vicki Lou and Madison.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Rip-Off Companies

Don’t you just hate being ripped off? Especially by big companies who have no need to do so but are only out to increase their profits.

I recently went to my local supermarket for my usual shopping. As a little treat for myself I sometimes buy a couple of Belgian Buns, delicious iced pastries with a hint of lemon curd. For as long as I can remember these Belgian Buns have been roughly the size of a CD, but now they are not much bigger than a biscuit – and the price has almost doubled! It’s bad enough putting the price up by as much as they have, but to reduce them in size by around 50% and expect us to pay almost twice as much for them is absurd.

They’re at it with almost everything, even their breakfast bars have shrunk. The packaging is the same size and the individual wrappers are the same size, but once you’ve got that wrapper off you can see that the cereal bar is almost an inch shorter – but the price of them has still gone up!

It’s not just the supermarket’s own produce that is shrinking either. I used to buy Sunpat Peanut Butter (notice how I say I USED to) which came in a standard glass jar. They are now producing it in a plastic jar that is around a third less in size than what it used to be – and about a third more in price. Along with the cereal bars and the Belgian Buns, Peanut Butter is now something I can live without.

Even Oxo are getting in on the act! It’s been a while since I bought any so I don’t know if the price has increased or not but I’m guessing that it has. How can a little Oxo cube shrink, they’re already tiny? That’s what I thought but have you noticed that when you remove the individual wrapper from the cube how, on four sides of the cube, a little bit has been removed so that the Oxo cube now forms an ‘X’. Why? It can’t be for presentation purposes because it’s not noticeable until you’ve removed the wrapper. The only possible reason is because Oxo are trying to rip you off by selling a smaller product for more money.

They all seem to be at it – biscuits are getting both smaller and thinner, paper kitchen towels are getting smaller with less sheets, there’s not as many sheets in a box of tissues, there’s only three chicken breasts to a pack now – even pre-cooked meat only has three slices per pack now whereas it used to be five or sometimes six slices, and they expect us to pay more for them.

It’s time we all stood up to these companies and refused to buy their goods. Once they realise that people are no longer buying their produce they won’t to be so quick to rip us off.

Friday, 21 October 2011

It's A Hard Life

It's been another busy day today in the old codger's house. I opened two windows, moved a plate, AND fluffed a cushion up. Totally exhausted after all that, I had to lay down for a while. There's got to be an easier life than this. If any of you have any less strenuous jobs I could do, I'd be happy to come and work for you - I'm particularly good at making cups of tea.

To make matters even worse, I was in agony when I woke up this morning. My eyebrow was killing me! How can an eyebrow be painful? It's like saying, "my hair hurts". Luckily the pain eased off during the morning though. It's a good job it did too, I was coming to the end of my tether - I was about to call the emergency services.

I think that seeing as I've had such a hard and painful morning I should take it easy for the rest of the day - I'd hate to overdo things. Although I can't rest for too long, there's still loads of work to be done. I just know that I'm going to have to fill the kettle up later on, and at some stage I'm going to have to pick the mail up from the doormat. And I've got to change a battery in my clock, and..... oh no, where am I going to find the strength for all this?

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Snack Time

I found a couple of web sites yesterday where I was able to create some more gadgets for this page. The first one I found was called PhotoSnack, a site which lets you make photo slideshows. I made a nice one of my little girl in just under two hours. The slideshow itself didn't take all that long to make, that was just a matter of minutes, what took up the time was deciding which photos to use and then resizing and cropping them. It was fun. I enjoyed doing it and it kept me off the streets for a while.

Then I found its sister site, BannerSnack, and I thought I'd be a little more adventurous. I made a banner showing all the ships I served on when I was in the navy. This one took up most of the day but that was only because my first attempt at it was a disaster. After making the slideshow I knew that I'd have to resize and crop the pictures I wanted for the banner so I got stuck in to finding the pictures and chopping them down to size.

It took quite a while to do that but when I came to make the banner I found that the size that I'd made the photos were too small for the banner I wanted (I thought I'd be able to resize the banner once it was created but that wasn't possible). So it was back to the drawing board and start all over again with the pictures.

This time I got them all to the right size and it was time for the fun to begin. If you want to make a banner in ten minutes then this sort of thing is not for you - it IS possible to make one in under ten minutes but if you didn't want to spend any time on it, it would just be a fairly basic banner. I decided to go ahead with trying out different transitions and different effects, and then I added some text and played about with the different text effects, it's was all this that made the whole process a little longer than ten minutes. I enjoyed every minute of it, including cropping and resizing the pictures. If I could find a job that required this sort of image manipulation I would be more than happy.

Maybe the finished banner isn't quite as professional looking as what it could be but I'm quite pleased with my first attempt at banner making. It took some time to make it, but that's the whole reason I'm here in the first place, I wanted something to occupy my time and this was perfect. I've put the banner in the right hand column of this page, have a look and see what you think - and then decide if you want to make something similar for your own page.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Royal Armouries, Leeds

The walk to the museum
One of the latest excursions we had was a trip to the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds.

Out of all the places we have visited in the last few weeks, this one has to be at the bottom of the list and the least recommended.

The museum itself is at Clarence Docks, a nicely modernised area of Leeds, but to get there we had to travel through what I thought were fairly run-down areas. Clarence Docks itself is full of new high rise buildings and modern shops, stores and cafes. But every one of them is empty! It looks as though they were opened at one time but it seems the owners have since abandoned them leaving all the fixtures and fittings in place. It’s like something from a futuristic movie, as though we were transported through time to a place where people no longer exist.

Royal Armouries Museum
The first of the pictures shown here were taken on a weekday in the middle of the morning. Where are all the people? You would have expected to see someone around, perhaps not doing any window shopping, but surely there should have been at least a few people wandering around. The place was deserted. Apart from a little Tesco Direct shop we found on our way to the museum where we were able to get a sandwich for lunch, there was no other signs of life.

Big guns
We did see signs of civilisation once we got into the museum. There were a few groups of people scattered about, including a class of school children running around, but as there is no admission fee I would have thought that there might have been a few more people around than what there was. The thing that struck me the most was the abundance of security guards. They were everywhere. Each corner we turned there was a security guard watching our every move, it seemed as though they were just waiting for a reason to pounce. This feeling of being watched all the time was off-putting to say the least, certainly a reason for not wanting to pay a return visit any time soon.

Just some of the weapons on display
There are five galleries in the museum set out over several floors. The building is large and very roomy but once or twice we found ourselves having to search for the stairs or a lift to the next level. The displays in each of the galleries are impressive, but a lot of it is repeated over and over again. For example, in one of the galleries we saw cabinet after cabinet with various swords in them; in one cabinet were swords of a certain length, in the next they were an inch or so bigger. Then another cabinet showing swords with different handles, or made in a different year. All very impressive but I thought there was too much of the same thing over and over again.

The Hunting Gallery
In the ‘War Gallery’ we saw displays about the development of weapons and the art of warfare from early times to World War II and beyond. The displays took us through medieval warfare and suits of armour to the mass produced weapons of the 19th century. There was a ‘Self Defence Gallery’ and an ‘Oriental Gallery’ which concentrated on the great civilisations of Asia, and a ‘Hunting Gallery’ which showed the history and evolution of hunting from prehistoric times up to present day Olympic sports.

There are literally thousands and thousands of items on display there and I should imagine that if you wanted to see them all, you would need to spend a full day at the museum and not just a few hours in the afternoon.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

My Little Girl

It’s my little girl’s birthday tomorrow.

She may be grown up and married and have children of her own but she is always going to be "my little girl".

9,131 days ago she came into the world with a million wrinkles on her little face. She looked just like a pug dog with a screwed up face and from the second she was born (that’s 788,918,400 seconds ago to be precise) her nickname has been ‘Pug’. But I’m the only one that’s been allowed to called her that, no one else was ever allowed to. She used to beat her older brothers up if they called her Pug.

I was in the navy when she was born and had to spend a lot of time away from home. I used to hate having to go away and miss seeing her growing up, missing the first time she stood up on her own, those first steps, those first words, and her first day at school. Sometimes I didn’t get to see her for months on end, but there was never a minute that she was out of my mind (and that’s every one of the 13,148,640 minutes since she was born).

Unfortunately it’s almost the same now. Ok, so maybe I’m not away for months on end nowadays, but living in different towns makes it difficult for us to see each other on a regular basis, and as I can’t get to see her on her birthday I’m just as sad now as what I was back in the days when I had to go away.

The only consolation is knowing that she is with her own family and that she is going to enjoy her birthday in her own way. She’ll be celebrating that she is 1,304 weeks old, or 219,144 hours if you like (not that I’m counting).

She might be a quarter of a century old…. but she is still "my little girl" and I love her to pieces.

Monday, 17 October 2011

You've Got Mail

You've got mail.... or maybe you haven't. I can remember a time, not so very long ago, when we used to get mail deliveries twice a day. The postman would bring the morning post at around 8.30am to 9.30am and then he would call again in the afternoon between 1.00pm and 3.00pm with the second post. That was the ‘norm’ ever since I was a child living with my parents. Just a few years ago though, that all changed. They scrapped the second post completely and left us with just one delivery per day which was usually brought between 9.00am and 11.00am. Royal Mail did reintroduce the second post over the Christmas period for a number of years though.

After all the complaints had died down and people were getting used to just receiving their mail once a day the Royal Mail revised their delivery schedules once again. This meant that we were no longer going to get our post in the morning. With their new cost-cutting measures they changed their postman’s rounds which saw the mail arriving at any time during the day up till around 1.00pm or 2.00pm. At one time we used to be able to wait until the postman has been before we went out, particularly if we were waiting for a package that may have been too large to fit through the letterbox, but doing so nowadays is no longer possible as we never know what time the postman is going to turn up.

If they are unable to deliver a parcel because there is no one home to receive it, there is a 48 hour wait before you can go and collect it at the sorting office. Three times now I have made a special trip to the sorting office to collect a parcel that I missed when the postman called, only to get back home and find a card pushed through my letterbox saying that they had tried to deliver a parcel while I was out.

You’d think that it couldn’t get any worse after all their cut-backs and reductions in service. Wrong! There has been no official statement from Royal Mail but I am convinced that the postman doesn’t deliver every day now. I’m sure they skip days. There’s been many times when I’ve been waiting for certain items to arrive and I’ve been watching out for the postman. Not only does my mail not arrive but there are no deliveries to the neighbours either, there’s no sign of the postman all day.

To make matters even worse, they're not bothered what time they deliver the mail now either. On Friday my post arrived at 6.30pm! And on top of all this the postal workers are constantly threatening to go on strike in protest of all the restructuring and cut-backs.

To be honest, I’ll be glad when Royal Mail is privatised, hopefully we’ll get a better service.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Red House Museum, Gomersal

Red House Museum
The three ‘old codgers’ went on another day trip recently. The last couple of weeks that we had ventured out the weather had been glorious, so on our latest outing we decided to have a picnic. Our intention was to visit the Red House Museum in Gomersal, thinking that we would be able to find somewhere suitable for our picnic along the way. That’s not quite how it happened though.

We couldn’t find anywhere suitable where we could pull over and eat so we headed straight for the museum. By the time we got there the sun had gone in and it had started raining. It was just a slight drizzle, but nonetheless, not quite the sunshine we had hoped for. The only place we found where we could sit and eat our lunch was on a bench in the children’s play area. There was a mother and her children a short distance away who must have thought the same as us, that we’d have a picnic somewhere, but the sun let us all down. We didn’t even get to finish our lunch, thanks to an over-friendly wasp that wouldn’t leave us alone.

The Reading Room
We put our lunch bags back in the car and went to have a look around the museum, called the Red House museum simply because it is built with red bricks. It was built in 1660 and was home to the Taylor family who were cloth merchants and manufacturers. Mary Taylor, daughter of the house in the 19th century, was a close friend of Charlotte Bronte, who visited often, featuring the house as ‘Briarmains’ in ‘Shirley’.

Red House still looks very much the same as it would have done back in the 1830’s. Each of the period rooms, the parlour, the stone-flagged kitchen with its Yorkshire range, the dining room with its stained glass windows, the reading room, and the bedrooms, takes you back in time to see how they lived way back then.

The Master Bedroom
There are a couple of restored outbuildings in the grounds, one of them being a large barn where there is an exhibition called ‘The Secret’s Out’, where you can explore Charlotte Bronte’s Spen Valley connections and her friendships with Mary Taylor and Ellen Nussey. One part of the exhibition said that when the young ladies of the 1830’s were looking for spouses, they used to look for the older gentlemen with plenty of money (I suppose that counts me out then).

The second outbuilding is a restored cart shed where there is a ‘Spen Valley Stories’ exhibition. Here there are pictures and mementoes of schooldays, Teddys Boys, dance marathons, and street parties, all courtesy of the local residents. There was a very knowledgeable lady there who was able to tell us about the displays in more detail, making our visit even more enjoyable.

Red House museum is only a small museum, it’s basically a house recreated in 1830’s style, so it didn’t take us long to get around it. We still had plenty of time left so we found another stately home further down the road. I can’t remember the name of this one but as they wanted to charge a ridiculous entrance fee it doesn’t really matter as we never went inside. We did find a bench in the grounds though where we were able to sit and finish our picnic.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Getting Romantic? I Don't Think So!

There are a lot of fiction books in my book case, mostly horror or paranormal, and a lot of naval history and naval warfare books. I have never read, or even considered reading a romance novel. It wasn’t all that long ago that my video collection consisted of mainly action films or war films and horror movies. I still have all those movies, but why is it that nowadays my DVD collection has more girly films and rom-coms than anything else?

A few days ago I chose ‘Bride Wars’ rather than watch one of the ‘Die Hard’ movies. Last night I quite happily sat and watched ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ followed by ‘Maid in Manhattan’ and enjoyed them both. There are still plenty of action films on the shelves that I could have watched but, no, I picked these girly films.

I think it might be time to start getting worried. Maybe I should consider seeking out some sort of medical help, the next thing you know I’m going to be reading romantic novels…. no, don’t go down that path, it doesn’t bear thinking about.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Going Nowhere Fast

When I walked through my hall I noticed that a small smudge on the mirror that should really be cleaned off. As I started toward the kitchen to get something to clean it with, I noticed the mail on the cabinet that I’d picked up from the doormat earlier (mostly bills). I decided to go through the mail before I cleaned the mirror.

I sorted through the mail I saw there was a lot of junk mail amongst it so I thought I’d put it into the bin, but then I noticed that the bin was full. So I decided to put the bills on the side and take out the rubbish first. Then I thought, if I’m going to take the rubbish out, the post box is just a little way down the road from where the large recycling bin is so I may as well pay the bills while I’m out.

I had to write a cheque for one of the bills so I took my cheque book off the table and saw that there was only one cheque left. My new cheque book was in a drawer in the room and when I went back in there I found the can of Coke that I had been drinking. I was going to look for my cheques, but first I needed to move the Coke aside so that I didn't accidentally knock it over.

I noticed that the Coke was getting warm so I though I'd put it in the fridge to keep it cold. As I headed toward the kitchen with the Coke a vase of flowers on the counter caught my eye - they needed to be watered. I placed the Coke down on the counter, and I discovered my reading glasses that I'd been searching for all morning.

I decided I better put them back on my desk, but first I thought I’d water the flowers. I put the glasses back down on the counter, filled a container with water and suddenly I spotted the TV remote. I realised that tonight when I went to watch TV, I would be looking for the remote, but I wouldn't remember where it was, so I decided to put it back in the room where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.

I poured some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spilled on to the floor. So, I put the remote back down on the fridge and got some towels to wipe up the spill. Then I headed back into the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day: the mirror isn't cleaned; the bills aren't paid; there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter; the flowers don't have enough water; there is still only one cheque in my cheque book; and I can't find the TV remote.

Then I try to figure out why nothing got done. I’m entirely baffled, because I know I was busy the entire day.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Do You Really Want To Read This?

Isn’t it nice to wake up to the smell of bacon cooking, then going into the kitchen and hearing the sound of sausages sizzling in the pan. Isn’t it great to be able to wake up to a full English breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausage, beans, mushrooms, black pudding and hash browns? What better way to start the day is there? It really would be great to start the day like that, but unfortunately all I had for breakfast this morning was a bowl of cornflakes. I thought I’d put this picture on here so that you can drool too.

I’ve just been looking at some blogs that have either been abandoned or forgotten about and I read some of their last posts. Some of them posted that they are closing their blog down because no one reads them. Another said “no one I know reads blogs any longer.” If that’s the case then I’m not so sure that I’m looking at this ‘blogging’ thing right. I only know a handful of people with computers but I haven’t told any of them that I have a blog, so none of them are reading what I have to say. Is it really so important that others read your pages?

Up until now I’ve viewed a blog as a type of electronic diary, the only difference being that with a physical diary you can lock it in a drawer so that no one else can read it. With a blog it’s open to anyone. I can understand giving the address out if you wanted to keep friends or distant members of your family informed about what’s going on in your life, but I can’t see why complete strangers would be the slightest bit interested in my visit to a stately home, or what I did when I went to visit my daughter’s family.

These strangers are more than welcome to read what I have to say, but I don’t think I’d be upset if they didn’t want to. I wouldn’t be throwing my toys out of the pram because, as one of the posts on an abandoned blog said, “I spent thirty minutes writing one post and nobody could be bothered to read it.” I’m just enjoying it for what it is, something to occupy a bit of my time during the day (I know, I know. What a sad life this guy must have, you’re probably thinking, but hey, I’m not complaining).

Talking of filling in a bit of time, I went on a ‘gadget hunt’ yesterday. There’s lots of space in the columns at either side of my page so I thought I’d try and add a few gadgets to fill them up a bit. I didn’t find any of interest though so maybe I’ll have to leave that for another day.

Right! Now that I’ve spent ten minutes on this post I DEMAND that you all read it, otherwise I’m going to throw a tantrum until you do. I might even close my blog down if nobody reads it. J

Have a nice day everyone.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Shibden Hall, Halifax

Gaz and Mick exploring the
grounds at Shibden Hall
A couple of old friends and myself had another outing recently and spent a day visiting some local attractions. I’ve known Michael since we were just five years old, I met him on our first day at infant school, then we met Gaz when we both moved up to the same secondary school. We spent our school days together, grew up and went our separate ways – each one of us getting married and having children, and now, fifty five years later, we are still hanging around together. Three, real-life ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ characters.

Stately home
This time our outing was to a six hundred year old medieval timber-framed manor house called Shibden Hall. The house sits in large grounds just outside Halifax and was built in 1420, five years after the Battle of Agincourt (and before anyone says it, no, I wasn’t there. I know I might look old, but I’m not quite THAT old). Many wealthy families have lived in the house over the years and the house has been furnished and decorated to give an accurate taste of life at different periods of the house's history.

Period furniture
Taking a tour of the hall gave us a good insight into what life was like for these well-to-do families. One of the pieces of furniture on display is a huge oak table which was actually built in the house and has stood in the same place ever since. It’s a good thing that TV’s or DVD’s hadn’t been invented back then though because most of the other pieces of furniture looked just a tad uncomfortable. It’s hard to imagine them getting comfortable and settling down for a night in front of the telly (that might have been a bit hard back in the day though, seeing as electricity hadn’t been invented).

Shibden Park
The house itself sits in beautifully restored gardens and estate that forms part of Shibden Park. We spent the afternoon looking around the inside of the house but didn’t get chance to see the rest of the park – it’s huge. We got to see the visitor facilities and have a cuppa in the cafĂ© but there’s a whole range of other attractions that we missed out on. There’s a miniature railway we could have tried which might have been fun, there’s also a boating lake, but if I remember rightly, the last time I was in a rowing boat was on the boating lake in Helston (Cornwall), where I lost my oar and had to climb out of the boat and wade back to shore dragging the boat behind me (to the applause of all those lining the lake).

Shibden Hall provides a great day out though, it’s well worth a visit. For those of you who are perhaps a little more energetic than us three old codgers there’s a pitch and putt course and an orienteering course, lots of woodland and nature trails, and a play area if you’re thinking of taking your children.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

How Time Flies

Tracy's big day
It’s hard to believe that two years have passed since my daughter got married, time has just flown by. Two years ago tomorrow was the day that I was officially no longer the most important man in my daughter’s life.

I knew that her immediate family and bridesmaids were gathering at her house before the wedding and I remember getting up that morning and thinking how hectic it would have been there and hoping that everything was going to plan.

When I was ready I drove the short distance to Tracy’s house. I think I must have been the last one to arrive as the house was packed when I got there. Other members of the family had just turned up, the bridesmaids had been there since the early hours of the morning helping her to get ready, and the official photographer was quite happily snapping away at anything that moved. When I entered the house and saw my daughter it literally took my breath away. She was the most beautiful bride I had ever seen.

Time to go
Shortly after I arrived it was time to leave for the ceremony. We stepped outside into the bright sunshine, a perfect day for a wedding, and after squeezing Tracy into the wedding car, it was time to go. What should have been just a five minute drive turned into a thirty minute tour of Huddersfield. Traditionally it is the bride’s prerogative to turn up late but I think that long drive was to allow time for all the family and bridesmaids to get to there before us, and perhaps to calm the bride down a little as well. It was certainly a different kind of ride from the many other times we have been in a car together – not quite the same as, when she was younger, a voice coming from the back seat saying, “Are we there yet?”

After making a few phone calls from the car to check that everyone was where they were supposed to be, we eventually arrived at the registrar’s office where there was time for a few more photographs before the ceremony began. I remember thinking as I walked her down the aisle that I didn’t want to do this. I didn’t want to give her away, she was my little girl and I wanted to keep her. She looked happy though, a little apprehensive perhaps, but definitely happy. It was time for me to step down and take second place.

The happy couple
Once the ceremony was over it was quite literally a walk in the park. The wedding party and all the guests made their way to Beaumont Park, just a short distance away from Huddersfield town centre.

Weather wise the day was perfect and the park provided an excellent backdrop for her wedding photos. The one shown here is just one of the many hundreds taken that day.

It really is hard to believe that all this was two years ago though. How can it be that long ago? It’s all still so fresh in my mind that it feels as though it was only yesterday.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Monday Morning Blues

Did you wake up this morning feeling all depressed because you have to go back to work after have a nice relaxing weekend at home with your family? Have you got to drive through rush hour traffic trying to avoid all the other depressed souls out there, each one looking so miserable that you’d think their world was just about to end? Every one of them in so much of a hurry to get to work, just so they can start complaining about how they hate Mondays. You could be one of the unlucky ones that get to go to work on the train, having to squeeze yourself into a stuffy carriage packed with miserable commuters and noisy students that have no consideration for anyone but themselves. Then you end up being late for work because the train couldn’t stick to its timetables. If this is you then I feel for you. I am just SO glad that I’ve left all that behind.

Although, even though I don’t have to travel to work, the journey indoors can be just as stressful. Take this morning for example; after getting out of bed I had to squeeze myself through a narrow doorway. A lot of concentration is needed here, if you’re not driving in a straight line you could end up having a nasty accident and get severely injured. Once through that first obstacle and in to the hallway I had to sidestep the cabinet and make a sharp right to get into the bathroom. Taking that corner too fast or too tightly could be disastrous.

The weather outside this morning was, to say the least, a bit wet. Once I got inside what I thought was the relative safety of the bathroom, I really had to run. But no matter how fast I ran, I still ended up getting soaked. I was drenched through to the skin. After drying myself off I ended up getting sprayed by some weird smelling substance, I had to move quickly before I ended up getting covered in the stuff. Then it’s back into the hallway again where I have to perform a sharp turn to the left and sidestep the cabinet again.

I’m really psyched up by now, confidence is building up but I cannot allow myself to lose concentration. There’s another one of those narrow gaps approaching and it’s coming up fast. I have no option but to slow down and watch what I’m doing. This doorway is slightly different from the last one, as I get through I have to swerve to make sure I don’t collide with the bookcase, then swerve again to get back on course. Very tricky.

Then comes the bit that separates the men from the mice. A hard 90 degree turn to the left while manoeuvring through a narrow doorway, made even more dangerous if the floor is wet, but I have no option, I have to go through. What is on the other side of that doorway is desperately needed. I find that extra burst of energy and push myself just that little bit harder. I have to be careful though, some days I have made this journey and the door frame has jumped out and attacked me. Today I got lucky and got in without any mishaps. But then comes more problems. There’s no room to turn around!

With one hand holding on tight to the freshly made goodies that I went in there for in the first place, I have to reverse out through that narrow opening. Fortunately I have a clear run at it and there are no corners involved this time. I get through the gap and perform a handbrake turn so that I am facing in the opposite direction and make my way to the other side of the room. There’s a couple of minor swerves as I avoid the few obstacles that are in my way, but I eventually get to my desk where I can sit down and enjoy the cup of tea that I’ve just made.

So, take note all you people complaining about getting to work, you’re not the only ones having problems getting to where you need to be. There are other journeys that are just as stressful as yours. (And if you believe that load of rubbish, you'll believe anything). Have a nice day at work everyone.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

New Look Blog

After playing around with Blogger's new Dynamic Views the other day and finding that they were not fully customisable, I thought I'd play around with some of the other templates. Over the last couple of days (and nights) I've tried different layouts, different backgrounds, different formats, and different headers - some with pictures some without, and I've even tried all the available texts that I could use for the title, 'Charlie's Choice'.

I'm quite happy with the finished effort, even though the colours I have used are not what I would have imagined. Burnt orange and gold. Although I have to admit, putting the two together is quite pleasing to the eye. I like the extra column I have added too. Before, I only had the one column on the right hand side which was too narrow. Now I have two columns, the narrow one on the left and a much wider one on the right. This gives me plenty of room for all those gadgets and links and pictures that I have added.

It's been almost a month that I have been blogging now and I still keep coming back. Not just for my daily dose of typing practice, but to keep tweaking the page and giving it a new look, or adding new gadgets that I have found (like the super-cool revolving map and hit-counter that I've added today). It's been fun so far, but I wonder how long it will be before the novelty wears off and I stop visiting the site as often. I've noticed that there are a lot of blogs out there that have been left untouched for long periods, somehow I think that the novelty has certainly worn off for those people.

Country Living


Happy Families
When you get older and your kids have left home, seeing them whenever you can is so important, especially when you only get to see them a few times during the year.  So, for me, visiting them at their own home is such a pleasure, made a thousand times more enjoyable by seeing the smiles of two little girls. With Vicki Lou the smiles (and the cuddles) come straight away, but I have to wait a while before I can get either from Madison. I suppose that’s only to be expected, she’s only nine months old and I don’t think she knows how to remember faces yet. It doesn’t take long though, within the space of around two or three hours the smiles start appearing and I am able to get my cuddles.

Vicki Lou on her bike
The weather was kind to us while I was there and we were able to go for a bit of a walk down a country lane close to their house. I won’t say that it was a quiet road, but in the hour or so that we were out walking we only saw one car. It was ideal for Vicki to go for a bike ride, although on the way back her little legs must have been tired. It ended up with Vicki being carried on her dad’s shoulders and mum having to carry the bike home. Not so with Madison though. She didn't get tired, she was wrapped up nice and warm and comfortable in her pushchair (which just happened to double up as a zimmer frame for grand-dad).

As we walked down the lane we passed a riding stables and Vicki enjoyed seeing the horses. That’s something her mum has never been able to do. It’s natural for little girls to like horses and want to stroke them but unfortunately that wasn’t the case with Tracy. We found out when she was young that she has an allergic reaction if she goes anywhere near a horse, she swells up like a balloon. We first noticed this before she started school but it wasn’t until she was at school that we saw how bad it could get. Her teachers took the class to visit a farm, and at the end of the day when I went to pick Tracy up from school I didn’t recognise her, she was so badly affected. All she can do now is to admire horses from a distance.

Groovy Chicks
We also passed a farm on the way down the lane and Vicki got chance to see the chickens and turkeys up-close and personal. I find it fascinating to see children being so curious and I love being able to watch them study things and learn about life in their own way. Somehow, it makes me feel young again, as though I’m seeing these things for myself for the first time. Looking into Vicki's eyes as she was watching the chickens I could see her soaking up as much information as she could. It's a pity that she couldn't put into words what was going through her mind. I would have loved to have known what she was thinking.

It wasn’t until after I'd looked at these photos that I noticed it says ‘Groovy Chick’ on Vicki Lou's helmet. I wonder if she was looking for her own groovy chick, or just deciding which would be the best one to invite home for Sunday lunch.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

That Was Friday

It was a spectacularly busy day for me yesterday so towards the end of the day I decided to chill out and relax by listening to the radio. There was some guy talking about how unlucky Friday is for some people, not just Friday the thirteenth, but Friday in general. He mentioned the case of some superstitious sailors that he'd heard of many years ago.....

The reluctance of sailors to set sail on a Friday reached such epic proportions, that in the 1800's the British government took strong measures to prove once and for all that it was just superstition. The Royal Navy commissioned a ship called 'HMS Friday', her keel was laid on a Friday, she was launched on a Friday, and she set sail on her maiden voyage on a Friday, under the command of a Captain James Friday. The ship, and her crew, were never seen or heard from again. (Whatever you do, don't mention this to today's government. They'd use this as a way of cutting back the Royal Navy even more and rename all ships 'HMS Friday').

And now we're in to Saturday. A day where a lot of us don't need to get up early to go to work, a day where we can unwind and do whatever takes our fancy. We could stay at home and do nothing, go out and do a bit of shopping, catch up with all those odd jobs around the house that you've been meaning to do, or, if you're that way inclined, go and watch a bit of footy at the local football ground. A lot of people find time on a Saturday to visit family and friends and that sounds like a great idea to me. Watch out, here I come.....

Friday, 7 October 2011

Lethargic Views

I had a bit of a lie-in this morning, I didn't get out of bed till almost seven o'clock. And you wouldn't believe how busy I've been since I got up. It's been non-stop. It's just coming up to 10.30 now and already I've made TWO cups of tea (mind you, I had to sit down and have a rest between each one). And then, of all things, I had to answer the door to take a parcel in. Wow! I just don't know where I find the time to do all these things, I'm just glad that every day is not as hectic as today.

Even with all that's going on, I've managed to find time in my busy schedule to log on to Blogspot and do a bit of blogging. I was looking at the new Dynamic Views templates earlier on. They look ok, but they are not that good just yet (perhaps they should have called them Lethargic Views). You can set your layout to one of seven different views, but whichever view you choose your readers can switch between them to read it in their own favourite style. I considered swapping and played around with them for a while but I don't think they're fully functional just yet. I could part-customise them by changing the backgrounds and adding my own header if I wanted to, but when it came to the layout section it wouldn't allow me to choose the amount of columns I wanted. It doesn't even show your profile or any links to your older posts. I'm in no hurry to change just yet so I'll give it a miss for now thanks. I'll wait until all the teething problems have been ironed out.

Well, I know I have many hundreds of readers out there and I know you're all wanting me to stay here and carry on with all this riveting writing but I'm afraid I'm going to have to disappoint you all. It's coming up to eleven o'clock and there is still so much to do. I've still got to open a window and there's a plate in the kitchen that needs putting away. I'm going to be rushed off my feet and..... oh my god, it's Friday! I have to put the rubbish out for the bin men. Oh no, when is it going to end?

There is so much going on - and on top of all this, I have a funny feeling I'm going to have to make another cup of tea soon. I just hope that none of you have to put up with being as busy as me.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Time To Chill Out

Surprisingly there's not a lot happening here at the Old Codger's place today. I don't have to go out and I'm all caught up with the housework and shopping and everything, so there's really only one thing left to do - put my feet up and chill out. The hard bit is choosing whether to watch a film or just relax with my book. I think I might go and make myself a cup of tea, put the radio on, and do a bit of reading this morning. I'll leave the movie till later on this afternoon.

I turned the TV on last night for the first time in ages. I spent about five minutes looking through the programme guide before I decided to put a DVD on instead. The TV planners have no idea these days, there's absolutely nothing on telly worth watching. If it's not one of these reality shows like X-Factor or Big Brother, or a show that involves either dancing, cooking, gardening or house renovation, then it's some sort of long-running soap that's well past its 'best before' date. What an exciting prospect, death by reality or death by soap. I mean, really, what sort of a life is it if you choose to sit around and watch shows like Big Brother? All you're doing is sitting in a house, watching people sitting in a house. And I thought I had a sad life.

I think it's time that people woke up and saw these programmes for what they really are. The majority of them ask for you to call in and vote for something, or someone, so the main point of making these shows is not for entertainment, it's just to make money. Even game shows are trying to get at your hard earned pennies. They run competitions where they ask a question and give you a choice of three answers, with the correct answer being so amazingly obvious. People are so confident that they know they answer so they ring in. Sometimes more than once thinking that they might be in with a better chance of winning the holiday or whatever it is that's being offered. Hundreds of thousands of people are doing the same thing, ringing a premium rate number, and before you know it the producers of that particular game show have earned themselves probably ten or twenty times more than what is cost to produce the show in the first place. It's time to wake up everybody, or they're going to carry on ripping you off (have you ever heard of anyone actually winning one of these competitions).

Ok, now that I've warned the whole world about these money-grabbers, I think it's time to go and get that cup of tea I mentioned. Now, where did I put that book.....

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Media Museum

The National Media Museum, Bradford
A couple of friends and I had a day out at the National Media Museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire. We got to Bradford around lunch time so the first thing we did was to visit the local Weatherspoon's for lunch.

The outside of the pub was small so I naturally assumed that it was going to be small once we got inside. I couldn't have been more wrong. The place was huge! I think it must have been a cinema at one time but had at some stage been converted into a pub. We were able to get a nice meal there for a reasonable price, with a nice glass of Fosters to wash it down. After lunch it was just a short walk around the corner to get to the National Media Museum.

A well-restored tourist coach
When we got there we saw a nice old coach bringing some visitors to the museum. I'm not quite sure how old the coach was but it looked to be in better condition that a lot of the newer coaches on the road nowadays. I wonder if today's coaches will last as long as that one.

After spending a few minutes admiring the coach we went into the museum. It was originally the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, which first opened to visitors in June 1983, and the home of Britain's largest cinema screen, IMAX, which is five storeys high and has six channel sound. Entrance to the museum is free, but there is a charge for entrance into the cinema.

In 1989, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of photography, the museum launched the Kodak Gallery. The museum literature states that there are "some 10,000 items illustrating popular photography from its invention right up to the present day". This was followed by the installation of a standard television studio, first used by TV-am (for outside broadcasts) and later Nickelodeon. These were the first ever live broadcasting studios installed in a museum.

There are seven permanent exhibitions at the museum:
  • Kodak Gallery: Covering photography from the 1840's.
  • Experience TV: 200 objects from museum collections, and hands-on displays.
  • TV Heaven: An opportunity to select from 1,000 television programmes to watch.
  • Magic Factory: The science behind television.
  • Animation: The history of animation, with a permanent 'Animator in Residence'.
  • Profiles Gallery and IMAX Projector Box: The film collection.
  • Games Lounge: Retro games from your childhood to play in the foyer area.


The view from the top floor of the museum
The museum closed in August 1997 to allow for a £16 million redevelopment which eventually made it twenty five per cent bigger. The IMAX cinema was also improved enabling it to show 3D films.

While we were there we had the chance to see a TV showing 3D programmes. I have to admit that I have never been a fan of 3D before but after watching some of those programmes I can see why it is so appealing. Now, if only we could watch 3D without those awful glasses. The refurbishment created a new digital technology gallery and the museum now hosts the BBC's Bradford offices and studios for BBC Radio Leeds. The new development also created a new glass-fronted atrium which houses a new cafe and shop.

The new-look museum was opened on 16 June 1999 by Pierce Brosnan, and on 01 December 2006, it was renamed the National Media Museum.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A Day Out


There's a bit of a change to the weather this morning. After a few days of unusual weather activity for this time of year it's turned decidedly colder. I haven't been out yet but I know this because my daughter sent a message when she was on the train to work this morning saying that it is a lot colder than it has been. I think we can say goodbye to the good weather for this year.

It's time for the old school mates to go on a little road trip again. Following on from last week’s trip to the National Coal Mining Museum, the three ‘Old Codgers’ are planning another outing. With the emails that have been passing back and forth, it looks like today’s little trip will be to the National Media Museum in Bradford. It sounds as though it could be interesting.

It’s strange though, even though Bradford is not that far away from Huddersfield, I can only ever remember going there once. That was many years ago when I was a teenager. I can’t remember who I was with but I can remember going to Odsal Top to watch stock car racing (that’s going to bug me now, trying to remember who I went with). I don’t think I’ve ever been into the city centre though so I’m glad I’m not driving.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Home From Home

Happy Families
I got to spend a weekend away with my daughter and her family and helped to celebrate my Grand-daughter's third birthday. Saturday was the day of the party and it turned out to be a full house as family and friends arrived to join in the fun. The weather was good over the weekend so the party was a combination of both indoor and outdoor games.

One of the best things about having kids is watching the expressions on their faces. I used to love watching my own kids opening their presents. The looks on their faces showed a mixture of feelings as they went through the suspense of wondering what they were going to get, the impatience and surprises as they opened their presents, and the enjoyment as they finally opened them. Priceless! It was just the same watching Vicki Lou open her presents too.

Mummy helping Vicki Lou put her new doll's house together
It was really great being able to go through it all again. One of the presents she got was a doll's house with loads of accessories. She didn't know which bit to play with first. Although looking at some of the pictures I took, it looks as though mummy might have been having more fun than what Vicki Lou was.

After mummy had finished building it and putting all the various stickers on, Vicki sat and played with it for ages. I think she had a great time. What mummy had done all helped to make the day a success too. She had put up loads of balloons and banners to make it an extra special day for Vicki. And the food she put on.... wow! It didn't help with anyone's weight problems but it was one of those spreads where you had to go around again and again (it had to be done).

Madison enjoying herself on the swing
Madison was a bit too young to fully realise what was going on, but I think she enjoyed herself and had just as much fun. She might only be nine months old but we made sure that she wasn't left out and got her involved with everything. She even got presents of her own.

There were a few things that she was a bit too young for but she was up for plenty of the other things. She liked being in the ball pool in the garden, she spent quite a bit of time in there with her sister, and I would say that she certainly enjoyed being on the swing. The look on her face is a bit of a giveaway there. And there was no crying or tantrums as we took her out. She just moved on to the next thing and seemed to be just as happy. By rights, she was too young for any of the food that mummy had prepared, but thanks to a couple of grandma's I think she managed to get some of it.

Mummy, Madison and Vicki Lou on the trampoline
When it came time to go on the trampoline Vicki Lou wanted her grand-dad to go on with her, but I didn't think that was a good idea so I told her that I'd have to stay off so that I could take some pictures.

Thankfully she was happy with that explanation, I think my days of bouncing around on a trampoline have long since gone. Madison got to go on there though. She's a bit too young to stand up on her own but with a little bit of help from mummy she managed a couple of jumps, then she enjoyed crawling around while her sister bounced beside her. And for a three year old, Vicki Lou knew that she had to be careful and not hurt Madison. Although it wasn't quite the same with the presents though. What's Vicki's is Vicki's, and what's Madison's is Vicki's too (she's going to be a perfect wife for someone).