So today has been a day of two halves, the first half saw us in Widnes helping M’s sister to celebrate her birthday by way of a barbecue and the second half saw us in the garden catching some sun and barbecuing.
I felt OK at the birthday do this morning, well for a little while and I then I sort of run out of social juice and really just wanted to come home.
I had a nap when we got home and M went out to our local farm shop to get some meat to cook for tea – which was delicious by the way.
I also had to go an introduce myself to one of our neighbours as we noticed a hole in their roof! Seeing as our houses are only maybe a year old, it’s a bit of a bugger. Hopefully the builder Taylor Wimpey will fix it for them.
Anyway, we are just watching “Into the Woods” which is musical fairytale with James Corden, Anna Kendrick and Meryl Streep. It’s quite an unusual film, a bit darker and weirder than I thought it might be.
So, I’ve had quite a busy day today, having been in Blackpool this morning and Ormskirk this afternoon. As you can tell, today is a day of 2 videos, the first one being of the view at the top of Parbold Hill:
I saw this when I was on my way between appointments and how could I not stop?! There were quite a few people already parked up in the layby, so I think I was very lucky to get a space. Lovely.
I got home about 15:30 and then jumped onto the laptop to do some work. I was just looking out of the french doors at the birds and I spotted a little hedgehog on the lawn who came to visit. Cue video number 2!
I didn’t want to frighten him, but he was SOO cute, I just had to go outside and have a closer look.
Anyway, I think M and I might go out for tea tonight, depending on how he feels when he gets in. Roll on Bank Holiday weekend I say! I know I had 3 weeks off work and have barely been back a week, but lets face it, it wasn’t exactly a restful time was it?
I still feel a bit weird about things, but don’t feel as sad, as often about mum. Dad is still struggling I think and who can blame him? They were together for 45 years and she has only been dead just over 3 weeks! I think it was a culture shock for him when we all went back to work and of course the day is very long if you’ve not got something to do, although to be fair, he is keeping himself reasonably busy.
I myself am feeling about 7/10. I am having weird dreams and my sleeping pattern has not yet returned to normal and maybe a couple of times a day, I think about mum & start to miss her loads. Life does carry on it’s true, but I can’t help thinking about all the up and coming things that Mum is no longer going to be a part of. That thought makes me really sad. So yes 7/10.
So today is a day where a few things are happening. We have been this morning to have mum’s ashes buried at St James (C of E) church yard in Haydock. So here’s the thing…I used to go to church regularly when I was younger, up until I was about 18, but then I discovered the pub and boys and stopped. So now the whole religious thing is really NOT my thing and I don’t hold with God, or Jesus or anything to do with the afterlife. I’m not spiritual and basically I think, once your are dead, then thats it.
But for a variety of reasons, we had to have a religious committal today, in order for mum’s ashes to be near her mum & dads ashes. It was ok and M and I really just went to support dad. I really just wanted to look around the church.
We then went for breakfast at a pub in Ashton In Makerfield and just spent a bit of time together. It is actually mum’s birthday today, she would have been 69. So if nothing else, we can remember her today and I am sure the garden of remembrance will give dad some comfort.
Today is also a big day for M as Steven Gerrard, Liverpool’s captain, is playing his last game at Anfield. He’s played for LFC since 1998 and is a complete Liverpool legend. Michael’s mum & dad are coming to watch and Barbara is bring in a buffet for half time. What’s not to like?
Right then, before all that, I am off to Specsavers to pick up my new glasses and prescription sunglasses. Rock and roll. Rock and roll.
I thought I would write today so remind myself about our journey of how we live where we live. so here goes…
I lived in Haydock all my life and for a long time, my entire family all lived within 1/2 mile of each other. Cozy! I lived in a terraced house that I bought on my own in 2002, M moved in with me in 2005 and then in 2013 we started to think about moving somewhere larger.
We started to look around generally, scouring Rightmove and seriously contemplating what type of house we might like and where we might move to. We made a list of things we might like:
Off road parking
2 loos, or potential for a 2nd one
3 x bedrooms
One night M came home from work and said he had noticed that there was a new development in Newton-le-Willows on the site of the old St Aelreds School. We enquired online and got them to send us a brochure. We made an appointment and met a lovely lady from Taylor Wimpey called Kath Belshaw in a local estate agent’s office. TW didn’t even have an office and there wasn’t a foundation set or a brick laid. We had a chat with Kath and put our name down on her list to say we were interested in a 3 bed detached house with garage called “Aldenham”. We were dead chuffed.
However, we did keep looking and checked out a couple of other new build estates and even had a viewing of an older property. But nothing quite appealed as much as the Bishops Gate site, which is what TW had called it.
The timeline for the houses to be ready was from late 2013 to mid 2015, so we decided to put our house up for sale in readiness. We spent a bit of money getting the house “sale ready” having it decorated in a neutral colour and fixing all the odd jobs that accumulate in a 110 year old house. We de-cluttered in a big way, sending 12 boxes of stuff to storage and God knows how much crap to the tip.
We went on sale around the 20th July 2013 and by that weekend, we had a viewing! I was UTTERLY convinced she would immediately buy our house, Job Done! She didn’t. In fact, we were on the market for 8 months before anyone made an offer. We used 3 different estate agents and dropped the price often and wildly. Here are our “sale” pictures:
But before that, the new house beckoned. So as I said, we had had our names down on the list for the detached house when the show houses were built at the end of October 2013, we went along to have a look-see and what happened next changed everything! You see, the show house they had for us to see, was a semi-detached 3 story house called “Ingleton”. M and I walked around the show house, as yet without furniture and slowly but surely, fell in love. Room after room brought surprise after surprise, large open spaces with 2 bathrooms and an extra “spare” loo downstairs! We were so shocked by our discovery, we went to M&S in Warrington and sat in the car park, intending to go in, but unable to get out of the car. We sat for 45 mins discussing how amazing it could be and what we could do with each room.
We rang Kath and told her to switch our preference to the Ingleton and she told us that we were 6th on the list with 2 houses available in 2014 and another 4 available in 2015. We agreed that there was a better chance we could get one in 2015, so we kind of thought that we weren’t under any pressure to sell our house and we had lots of time to save up etc etc.
In early December 2013, still thinking that we weren’t going to get a house till 2015, we booked and crucially paid for, a 2 week to trip to America. Hey ho, we had savings we thought and weren’t going to need any big money for at least another year, what the hell.
On December 20th, M got a call from Kath at TW and she offered us a house!!! She said she had offered it to all 6 couples and the first one to get to her with all the right paperwork and mortgage offer could have it! I have to point out that whilst this conversation back and forth was happening, I was right in the middle of my Christmas lunch at work – mental.
So M pulled out all the stops and on the 21st December 2013, we went to sign for our house!!! The only fly in the ointment was that Kath told us that we would have to pay the entire deposit of £9,000 by the end of January!! As you can imagine, we weren’t’ expecting this and the next day, we called to cancel. But Kath and our financial advisor (thankfully) talked us out it and at the end of January 2014, we exchanged contracts. OMG.
But of course, at the time we signed for the new house, we hadn’t sold our old house and this kept me awake many a night. But thankfully at the beginning of March and after another price drop, we sold our house to a lovely lady, her son and their 2 dogs. Phew.
I rang the solicitor and estate agent once a week for the next 3 months and I don’t think I sped up the process one little bit. The pressure was increased when Kath rang us on the 4th May to say that whilst originally our new house was supposed to be ready at the end of July, it was now going to be ready on the 27th June!!! This was amazing news, but kind of put us into a time pressure panic.
But in the end, it all worked out and we moved out of our house on the 30th May and spent the next 4 weeks sofa surfing and spending time at the Travelodge in Warrington. It was a very happy time.
Finally, on June 26th, we got a call that meant the house was ours and we could go and collect our keys!! We moved in the next day and the rest is history.
Our amazing house
We have never been happier, we just simply love this house. The plot has a decent sized garden, which is surrounded by trees and green space. We have really lovely neighbours and it’s so quiet that it’s just perfect to come home to after a busy day.
It might be “staycations” for us for a little while, but I don’t care, it was and will be worth every penny. Do I sound smug? Well I feel it. M and I have worked hard for a very long time, in my case 24 years, so why not? We deserve it.
I’ve had another good day today as the sun has been out and I’ve basically spent the whole afternoon until 7:30pm outside. The sun really does nourish a person and there is nothing quite like the sun on your face is there? We got to eat our tea outside and even try out our sprinklers!
I realise that I am turning into a complete garden bore, but that’s especially because at the very end of May (in about 2 weeks) our landscape gardener is coming to finish off the bottom half of the garden, as well as re-lay our turf. I am TRES excited.. If nothing else, it will just be good to get it all done.
I’ve just got 1 more day at home before I go back to work after 3 weeks off. It’s a slightly weird feeling and I am sure the 6:45 alarm will be a real shock to the system! Especially as I am retuning to a brand new office, a new desk and also becoming a train commuter!!
I anticipate a certain amount of awkwardness around mum’s passing, but that’s ok and once I’ve said hello to everyone, I’m sure it will be fine.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to my last day, as I’m going for a massage at 101 High Street and hopefully that should make me 100% floopy, which is the ideal state for my final day off.
So I had a really good day yesterday as I went to see my friend “K” and as you might be able to tell from the title of this blog, she lives in Glossop. I met K in 2007 when she interviewed me for a job at GMCVO and subsequently took me on. She was manager for a while and we ran a great project called Community Grants, aka “Project Towpath”. She did move onto another organisation after a while, but it was in the same building, so we remained good friends.
When she eventually did leave the building, we stayed in touch and have been meeting up for a variety of lunches and dinners ever since. I think we would see more of each other if we lived closer, but our houses are 40 miles apart, so we tend to each over perhaps once a month or so.
I don’t have many pictures of Karen for one reason or another, but here is one of at Christmas a couple of years ago:
K is very feisty and I just love that, when we get together we chat non-stop and yesterday was no different.
Of course, since the last time I saw her, she had had her 30th Wedding Anniversary and been on holiday to Borneo and Hong Kong, and of course, my mum died. So lots to catch up on. K worked as a bereavement councillor for years, so was able to offer some really useful advice.
Glossop itself was a little rainy, but it didn’t matter. I went on the train, well 4 trains and all-in-all I had a delightful day. Here was my view from the train:
I went round to see Dad when I got back as he had very kindly done some washing for us. Then home to see my beloved and then Dominos for tea. I’ve had worse days. 🙂
I watched the Manchester 10k this afternoon and events like this never fail to inspire me.
I wanted to do something in memory of mum and whilst running isn’t my thing, I really like walking and so this event is a perfect fit.
M and I did the Shine Manchester Marathon (walking) in 2011 and it was really bloody hard, but the pain of that has faded and now more than ever, it seems like the right time. By my reckoning, I have got about 4 1/2 months to train myself from being about to walk comfortable about 2-3 miles to 10 times that many. Phew. I must be mad.
Anyway, if you do fancy sponsoring me, you can do so by giving the button below a click!
To help me along, I am going to blog my training and progress and so you can follow it all with me. I know it’s going to be hard, but it can’t be any harder than what my mum went through. Can it?!
So today is, well should be a happy day as our fancy shmanzy barbecue has arrived along with some “stress relief” purchases of a ridiculously expensive cover and grill scraper.
It’s a funny thing that when you are living through a grieving process you feel like either you can’t or shouldn’t be laughing and if you do so involuntarily, you feel guilty. But the simple fact of life is that, it does carry on. Things DO carry on being funny and people and things are able to make you laugh.
Just because you laugh it doesn’t mean you aren’t still grieving or that your loss is diminished, it isn’t. For me, it just means that I am human. But I still feel guilty.
But dad has been round today and we haven talked about mum and things and I think it helps us both. By all accounts, my sister is coping in her usual way, by shopping the hell out of her credit card! We all have our ways of dealing..
I have also had some flowers from work today, I was very touched.. and our sideboard is heaving from the sympathy cards. I always think of myself as a person with very few friends, so to receive so many cards is a real humbling experience.