Monday, January 31, 2011

Every one a winner

Last week was the first activity of the year that I had a big hand in organising. It was our church regional swimming gala for Derby, Eastwood, Boston, Lincoln and Nottingham. What a great night it was for aged 12 to 35+.

Over the years, each of our children have participated, and I even became the high dive champion once (a long time ago). Martin was the only Devine representative this year, as the rest have moved out of the area. How proud we were to see him win races and what lovely memories were relived covering  the past two decades as we drove home.

We've seen little kiddies return to compete as adults along with their own kiddies. A really fantastic family and friends activity.

I almost lost my voice, again!

People arriving and getting organised with the certificate and scoring officials...Nigel and his wife Jan and Sarah Bev. 1st, 2nd and 3rd places receive certificates and every other position gains points for their team.

Who's trying to get my attention?
Martin (face showing) and Adam were tied first place for this one.

As the official starter for over 50 races, I was too busy to take any more photos, but I can tell you it was a night to remember with a fantastic atmosphere.

On the final race of the evening, our friend Paul clawed back almost half a length to pave the way for Martin to complete the final length of the men's relay. Martin came from way behind to win the race and send us in raptures.

Those relays are a joy to watch.

The church that I attend won the overall gala.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My recommendation for a good read (update)

I included some childhood memories last year on this blog as a countdown to going to France.The author of this book, Madonna Dries Christensen must have liked what I wrote because she made contact through Foreign Quang to invite me to submit a couple of childhood memories for her new book to be published 2010/11.

The book is published, and guess what? Yes, I'm in it, recollecting my childhood toys! How cool is that? The whole world will be reading about me and the rest of the contributors.

It's available now from Amazon, so I guess my family won't be stuck for a gift for my birthday which is fast coming up. Actually, I can't wait that long. I'm ordering my copy now because my memory is it does, and I'm struggling to recollect what I's an age thing.

You just never know where blogging takes you.

Thank you Madonna and Randi for thinking of me.

I'll be telling all my friends, Madonna, so that soon you will be rich and famous and shortlisted for all kinds of honours...or should I say MORE rich and famous?

Did I say it's available now on Amazon? :)

I totally forgot to mention the fact that all royalties from this book will go to the Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia. I just can't resist saying that for the price of a small pizza here in the UK, you can buy this wonderful book, have a fantastic read AND make a difference in someone's for thought, eh?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thank you

As a result of your quality worldwide feedback, I will probably...
  • Get rid of the gimmicky bounce on the text pages (it was beginning to irritate me, too).
  • Reduce the animation.
  • Increase the size of the font (but I'll keep it because I like it way better than the alternatives).
  • Insert an 'archive' gallery.
I suppose the speed of loading will largely depend on operating systems, but I'm fairly pleased, by all accounts, that it loaded in reasonable time. I can now improve it by reducing the file size of the images.

Thank you.

Oh, and what a pleasant surprise to hear from our long lost friend, Julie (French-Fancy).

And...Kelly (Septembermom) seems to have set the world on fire with her debut vlog. How cool was that!

I don't think the world is ready or can cope with even the thought of a vlog from Ken Devine.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dancing through life

Spluttering and struggling to stay a sparkler about to fizzle out.

A great weekend in Sunderland prematurely brought to an end with Bev feeling ill. Roles reversed tonight as I feel a tad yuk here in Newark while Bev is as bright as a button helping her friend with genealogy in Nottingham.

Finished this yesterday...

Very readable and yes, charming. It made me laugh a lot and count my blessings.

I'm about to open 'The Help'...a book with a film release later this year in the States. My daughter recommended it and, to make sure I read it, bought it as a gift.

I had the chance to visit my sister Autumn (known most of her life as Carol) on Saturday. She had heart problems in 2010 and it was so good to see her in relative good health and speaking. This photo was from her apartment living room window which I opened and promptly felt dizzy. It shows where I was born, where I played, the various places I lived in care, my first flat, my first job, 2nd job, 3rd job, location of accidents 1,2 and 3, location of first kiss, first scuffle, first scar, first friend and a thousand memories. The unseen view to the right (on another photograph) shows the parks and other places I lived and another thousand memories.

The sound of the gulls and smell of the sea air filled me with nostalgia. It's a pity I didn't have a walk along the long sandy beaches.

I was running late and had to dash to pick Chris up and meet up with Bev, Juli and the family in Newcastle.

A photo of inside the Metro Centre (Newcastle). The place is so vast and manic that I came away totally exhausted. I didn't manage to find what I needed, unlike Bev (probably why she felt ill the next day). The kids in the photo were flung right up to the first floor. It was so unfair that it was just for kids.

Friday night was a really special night for us all, but I'm unable to upload any video footage at the moment. I'll try later. in her 61st year, danced, laughed and cried...with the rest of us.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mixed bag of a week

You're a last!

1. My reward for a 90% success rate for achieving last years personal goals wasn't so much the trophy as the company I was with on Monday evening. 

2. Not once, twice, but THREE times I wiped out my website with the press of the SAME button. The only thing I learned was that I still mumble in frustration and shout at myself in disbelief.

3. Made a meal for Bev (and me) from one of the new Christmas gift cook star is rising! However, I burned the potatoes while trying to sort my website out and had to re-do them.

4. A week or so ago, I let the opportunity pass to buy a presentation box of tableware for £12 at an Help the Aged charity shop. I wanted to feature the items in future paintings. I regretted not buying it and began mumbling to myself. ( that's when I noticed that I'm mumbling a lot these days).

5. I received an early birthday present from David and was the presentation box of tableware that I thought had gone forever! Eileen works at the shop and thought of me. So Happy!

6. Going to Sunderland today for a surprise 60th party for my sister. Making a weekend of it.

7. I've felt as though I've had to play catch-up a lot this week and haven't had chance to visit blogland much.

This weekend is my pause button. The replay button is for Monday.

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 06, 2011


A swollen nose, stomach pains, cold sore, nightmares and the flu marked the end of 2010 and the start of what promises to be a great 2011.

Nose almost back to its normal misshapen, bent and twisted shape and everything else has virtually disappeared. If I get through tonight without a nightmare, I'll be well away!

Is it too many nuts, chocolate or blogging that cause bad dreams?

Nuts, I reckon!

Monday, January 03, 2011


As one door gently clicks shut behind me, another swings open, leaving me no option but to walk on. It looks fairly bright out there, but don't think for one moment I haven't noticed another year lost...or is that another golden year of wonderful memories and experiences gained?

I'll soon be facing life as a 59 year old. It sounds quite old and I can scarce resist the temptation to count how many years might still be left in the pot.

I see storm clouds in the distance but perhaps its my failing eyesight. Maybe they'll dissipate if they are real. If not, there'll be a silver lining or two.

No worries! I've gained more than I've lost. I'm ready for whatever is thrown at me.

The year may have ended in sickness, but it didn't mask the happy family time we had. We are exhausted and unprepared for a seemingly sudden return to the rigours of normality, but what the heck!

Bev is at work today for the first time this year and I've decided to start and finish a job that I know will crack her face with the biggest smile. It may be my last day of holiday, but it's worth the sacrifice.

MIL...short for mother in law, in case others are as confused as Karen, usually drags her dripping shopping trolley through the hall and kitchen into her carpeted living room. This infuriates an already bad-tempered Bev (just kidding!)

Today, I will clear under the stairs and build a cupboard just for the trolley.

No more tram lines in the carpet. No more chipped paint as a result of poor manoeuvring. No more dents in the fridge door. No more clutter in her bathroom...yes, that's where she keeps it. Bev will no longer feel compelled to hire a cleaner every time MIL has visitors.

Change doesn't come cheap. MIL will kick against progress. My name will be synonymous with the dirt I'm trying to avoid on her carpet. There will be glances heading in my direction that could be mistaken for missiles and my impending birthday may be blighted with the lack of a present.

Perhaps war isn't the best way to start a new year, but the season of goodwill has ended regarding MIL and her out-of-control trolley.

I'll post a photo later today if the campaign is successful.


Still bits to do, unfortunately.