Friday, August 25, 2006

Nicely back home again

Well we've been back from Devon for almost a week now - my parents are still with us but considerably better behaved as my father and I crossed swords on Tuesday evening as he was being particularly pathetic and I lost the plot!

Not in any major way, you understand, but enough to give him a little wake up call and they've both been much better since.

Of course being back in our home with sufficient space to accommodate everyone has helped.

It is my Mum's 67th birthday today and I was desperately trying to avoid him taking the snap decision of storming off home in the car before the day itself. He has past form for this - they missed the joint baptism of our two youngest because he had a strop on the night before and he stormed off home with my mother in his wake - she goes along with him for a quiet life! Wouldn't do for me but they've been married over 48 years so it obviously works for them much to the dismay of us their children at times.

Sufficient to say we managed to keep everyone here together in reasonable harmony and she's really enjoying her birthday with some of her family round her (a rare occasion these days as we're all so far flung). Once they've gone home on Sunday I can take off my pale blue UN hat and stop playing Butras Butras Gali for a little while!!!

The pictures I've posted today are a mix of holiday photos and quilt show ones

Plymouth is the major port in Devon. There is a huge naval dockyard where lots of Her Majesties vessels from the Royal Navy come in for repair and refit. Sadly with recent defence cuts it is nowhere near as large a dockyard or is as big an employer as it was say 30 or 40 years ago but it is still one of our key naval dockyards.

Because of this during WW2 Plymouth was bombed by the German Luftwaffe to within an inch of its life and sadly has been rebuilt during the 40s and 50s in the 'quick-fix' concrete jungle regeneration that we as a nation had to undertake to get places like it up on its feet in record time. If you visit any of the German cities that the RAF bombed you will see that the Germans have rebuilt their old buildings almost exactly as they were - sadly we weren't that far sighted - shame!

Plymouth is based at the mouth of the river Tamar and the delta is made up of lots of little inlets off the bay a bit like fingers on a hand. One very small area on these inlets called The Barbican was spared from the bombing and is still preserved with little thin streets and some medieval buildings.

Strangely in this area are the steps that the people climbed down to board the Mayflower to come to the New World in (I think) 1603 - sorry if my memory for dates doesn't serve me correctly

The photos show the stone gateway and the plaque at the top of the steps which mark this auspicious occasion in history. I got Nigel to take the photo specially for all you girls on that side of the pond :o) I'm not over fond of sea travel and boats in general and I can't begin to imagine how much courage and fortitude must have been shown by those initial Pilgrim Fathers setting out on an unknown voyage half way across the world to a new land. Of course many many others of all creeds and colours made subsequent journeys probably all as daunting, some not of their own choosing. But this was the start of the whole process all those years ago.

The quilt photo shows another of our show quilts - a sampler quilt in burgundy, cream and a lovely honey/toffee colour. I wouldn't have automatically put those colours together but seeing them there I really love them. My favourite block is second one down on the far left - a Carol Doak paper pieced star which enthralled me each time I looked at it (so much so that the quiltmaker lent me the book it came from). This quilt was immediately opposite the pay desk where I sat for most of the show so I had lots of opportunity to peruse it at my leisure - a real luxury.

I've spent this week since we've been home doing lots of big 'cook-ins' to fill the freezer with multiple family sized portions of chilli, bolognaise sauce and various casseroles so I don't have to cook from scratch each day when I get home during term time. I try to do this and squirrel enough away each half term holiday to last the next 6 to 8 weeks of the subsequent school term. It works well and means I usually have at least 3 or 4 meals a week I just have to take out and defrost and add accompaniments to. A godsend in a busy world playing taxi-driver and social secretary to the three kids!

The children and I return to school a week on Monday - that's the start of my new job.

I have to say with all that has happened with the holiday and everything I feel like I've not had the proper rest I needed, but never mind - onwards and upwards - once we get back it'll only be 7 or 8 weeks until half term again and Nigel will be off work for that so maybe we can all get the R and R in then! :o)


quiltpixie said...

I'm sure you'll feel better after the holiday... The stress of "needing" to make this work until the b'day would be tiring in and of itself...

Dawn said...

Loved the colors in that quilt too! Can't wait to see your star!

Glad mom had a nice birthday and hope you have a good deep breath when it is all over!

Linda_J said...

I love seeing the pictures of your area of the UK and the stories behind them.

The quilt is lovely--samplers are fun when you don't want to keep doing the same blocks endlessly and get to try new things.

Good that you had a talk with your father as well--clear the air before things really disintegrated into a real row and unfortunate things said.

ForestJane said...

I really like sampler quilts anyway, and you're right, the colors in that one are great.

Hope you're able to rest up from your holiday now that you're back home!

EileenKNY said...

How does your schoolyear run? Is it 7-8 weeks on with time off year round? How many weeks are they off?
Glad your were able to keep the family together for your Mom's day, I'm sure she appreciated being with all of you.

katelnorth said...

Nice to hear about your holiday, Anne - funny enough, I followed a link to your blog from a comment you left on the blog of an old friend of mine (Cathi who lives in Ireland) - small world, eh? Kids here not back to school until Wednesday the 6th - not nearly soon enough, if you ask me! Looking forward to the new rugby season, or is cricket the new sport of choice in your house?

Lily said...

Phew Anne, the peacekeeping operation is still in full swing then I see! Glad your mum's b'day went well and you managed to keep everyone in the same place.

You'll be glad to get back to work!

What a brilliant idea on the bol sauce, etc. Try chillie con carne. It freezes up beautifully too and then all you have to do is heat and add a dollop of sour cream and it's ready to eat.

I just need a bigger freezer and I could do that here too. Or my husband could, since he's the one on cooking duties these days ;)

Maureen said...

I never knew there was a "stairway" that the Pilgrims climbed down to the Mayflower. Thanks for the history lesson. Glad your mum had a nice birthday.