Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Great British Ball this Saturday

I thought I'd post early as the coming week is crammed and I'll be darting all over the place.

Unlike the virtual ball willow staged a while back, this one is very real. It's also hard work. This is the event that earned me a speeding ticket on my way to the first planning meeting on the 28th September.

The planning and execution committee...Nigel Dann and Ken Devine

The music is sorted
The equipment, lighting and effects are sorted
The sound system will be checked
The decor is almost sorted and we'll put it up all day Thursday and Saturday
The food and drink is sorted and we'll be picking it all up on Saturday morning
The photographer is sorted.
The quizzes are sorted
The flags are sorted
The video clips are sorted
The invites have gone out
The posters have gone out
The displays are in hand
The heating is sorted
The clearing up has been delegated...I think!

What can possibly go wrong?

I 'm not giving away what I'll be wearing, but hope to completely embarrass Bev as usual.

We're gonna have a ball!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Names, new and old

Yesterday was strange. We had had little sleep because of the call in the small hours that heralded the birth of Liliya Marie Devine...the newest name in my life. We woke feeling groggy so decided to walk to work to catch some fresh air.

As we turned to cross the road, a van zoomed past us, missing us by a fraction. The power of its slipstream almost sucked us into the road. We froze and remained rooted and unable to move for a second; it was a close shave.

The rest of the walk was filled with conversation around new life in the form of Liliya and old life  in the form of Bev & Ken who were lucky to be still alive.

For me, the day was full of reflection on how delicate a balance life and death is.  I found myself listing and thinking of everyone in my life who is now dead. It was more pleasant than many nice memories. I wish they were still around to share some space with me: Perhaps that's exactly what they did do today.

Off the top of my head...

Paul Janota
Ken Bush
Carol Smith
Ted Asher
Malcolm Cleroux
Albert Green
Ted Alderman
Milford Smith
Stan Turpin
Dennis Summers
Daisy Summers
Doris Kennedy
Tom Davies
Eric Connor
Mary Brailsford
Derek Cuthbert
Jack Kennedy
George Winfield
Stevie Southam
Elisabeth Norman
Jean Flinn
Jarred Potter
Jane Girling
Ken Poole
Joyce Anderson
Henry Mulligan
Gwen Mulligan
Lynn Williams
Fred Baillie
Mavis Baillie
Gordon Sherlock
Shirley Mays
Mr Herbert
My Mum
My Dad
Bev's Dad

It was a strange day thinking about birth and death, but a very pleasant day all the same. It was nice thinking about every one of them.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Girl or a boy?

I walked down to the White Swan to watch Sunderland v Blackburn last night to get out of the way while Bev entertained her friend. It turned out that her friend entertained her. I, on the other hand was not entertained in the least.

It was a disappointing performance over the 90 minutes. They drew a blank, unlike Sarah Louise who managed to get a result after extra time.

Sarah wanted to call us herself, which she did, an hour or so after giving birth (just before midnight, I think) to an 8lb 3oz girl (I think!) I know it was a girl but not sure about the weight. Can't you just tell it's a bloke writing this.

They, like us, enjoyed their first sleepless night.

So, I was 100% wrong about her being a boy. Finlay will have to wait a little longer, I guess.

Welcome to Earth baby girl with dark hair who has no name...we love you already and look forward to seeing you soon.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Journal update

Sunday...Isaiah isn't easy to understand, is he?

On Friday I drove to Leeds to help my son with some building work. On Saturday he drove with me to Sunderland to put a new ceiling in my granddaughter's bedroom as well as seeing Juli off to Canada for a short break. I dropped Jon off in Leeds on my way back to Newark and, by the time I arrived home, realised that I'd left my camera in his kitchen and he'd left his blackberry in my car.

They drove over today for the exchange and we had a very pleasurable late lunch together.

If all goes well, tomorrow will see the arrival of our ninth grandchild. My prediction is for it to be a boy... I just feel it.

I was told last week that my job will become redundant in January.

How do I feel? Fine! So long as it's only the job and not me.

Weather has been crisp, clear,  and is now warm. I feel alive and optimistic.

Here's to a bright future for the unborn and many more and me included.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


Well, this is Cambridge...

Arrived just in time for breakfast at The Eagle, the most famous pub in Cambridge...
This peaceful room had a glorious smell...
The breakfast room...
There are more rooms, all peaceful and steeped in history, but that's it for now...we've had our full English breakfast including black pudding. Bev is ready to hit town...
Student pranksters put giant Christmas hats on those two spires one year...
As you can see, we took a guided punt tour (he was really good)...too many grand buildings and bridges to show really...

Lots of bridges but I must include this one which gave the town its name...the Cam bridge...
Without cycles, Cambridge isn't Cambridge...and boy, were there lots of 'em.
Dropped in at the museum to check out the Egyptian mummies and the French impressionists...
It was magic!
A quiet side street away from the hectic market...
It was an exhausting but very enjoyable day. We were lucky it was such pleasant weather.

Verdict: Well worth the visit, especially if you tag onto a guided tour. Try and avoid the all too familiar and universally recognisable shops and delve down the alleys for the interesting stuff.

We were educated, which is what you'd expect from Cambridge.

All photos on Facebook.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Cambridge pranks

Just like 34 years ago, yesterday was a beautiful day sandwiched between two horrible ones. We decided to celebrate our wedding anniversary by spending the day in Cambridge for no other reason other than we've never been there before.

Here are just a few things we learned...
1. The bodyguard of Prince Charles attended all the lectures the prince attended whilst at Trinity College Cambridge by virtue of his duty to protect him. He even sat the exam...and apparently achieved a better grade.
2. King Henry V111 gave Trinity College a great wad of land (belonging to the Catholic Church) that stretches all the way to London and includes what the Millennium Dome is built upon. The College is worth Billions of pounds and is the richest of all English colleges.
3. Cambridge University is the second oldest University in England (Oxford is the oldest) . It was founded by Oxford students who fled on suspicion of murder.
4. Students at Cambridge have to sign a contract which prohibits them from taking part-time jobs in the community. They are there to study...nothing else.
5. Pink Floyd began their career at the Anchor pub where the punts are gathered.
6. Students managed to put two Santa's hats on spires of a college seemingly impossible to climb.
7. Students also managed to put this car (below photo) on top of the building in 1958...a prank which baffled police for many years as they couldn't figure out how it could have been done. the prank was done (click on photo)

Some photos of the day and other things we learned...tomorrow!

Speaking of cars...guess who received a speeding fine in the post when I got home?  It's the second in my entire driving experience and the feeling is exactly the same...gutted!

I can't remember the last stand-alone perfect day.