Reasons to be cheerful -part one

1.Thank -you to Declan ,Neal and Dottie for a wonderful time in France . They cooked for us , looked after us , shared their beautiful house ,garden and pool with us and hired a fast boat and took us to the most beautiful bays ever where clothes were optional ( except for me ) and the food and wine , sublime . We played Dobble ,Scrabble and swum in the sea very day .It was a real treat .
2. Colourscape on Clapham Common .
I took a group on my students there last week and it is one of the best sensory experiences we have ever had – the space, the shapes, the colour , the music and Michael .Michael is a musician who uses the singing-bowl like I’ve never seen it used before . For many of my students who have very little mobility , the tingling feeling of the bowl , gave them such joy . He demonstrated on my back and it was like a lovely tingling feeling running under my skin – very hard to describe , but very special .
3 . Rosies’ friends – they are lovely ,and nearly all turn 30 this academic year . I so wish she were too . ( silly to wish , but as already stated , anything ending with a 0 ,makes it harder ) .
The Hafeez Family , for bringing round sweets to celebrate their daughter’s wedding .
4.’Darkness-Those who Kill’ . Gripping – The Danes do drama so well.
5.Alice – I’m seeing her tomorrow and she always cheers me up


I feel I should write something about DC , the man , not the place .
His memoirs are out ,but I cannot bear to look at his face , but then he writes about the grief for his son ,Ivan and so I read selective bits and then I feel sad and sadder and anxious about brexiB and cross and all sorts of things that aren’t good and so I’ll write something positive fact a recommendation ….
Visit Eltham Palace if you can ….henry VIII grew up there , The Coutald family bought it in the 1830’s and completely renovated and extended it .Is an an Art deco marvel . The audio guide is free and good , the grounds beautiful and the Koi Carp hungry . For all you South London hipsters , it is a hop , skip and a jump away ( I felt it was near the place you made me squeeze through the railings ?!) .


For the first time ,in the 30 years we’ve been having international students to stay , I was asked if this ( text ) question ‘ what time dinner at ? ‘is grammatically and semantically correct.
Truth is , I’ve no dam idea !

Whichever one it is , it’s hard to come back from it

Sometimes I think it’s just me , super-sensitive, super-stupid ,super-heightened and then someone puts how I feel into words and it helps me justify my feelings .
Am I making sense , I doubt it ?
on Saturday , in true ritualistic form , after reading ‘Blind Date ‘ , I turned to The Family Section and ‘Ask Annalisa Barbieri’ . This week’s question was ‘ Should I tell my sister her father might not be her father ?’ This question has absolutely nothing to do with me ,but Annalisa’s answer helped me a lot .
If you’ve got the mag , read it , if not I’ll quote
” When we pass on news, any news- we are usually just a conduit, so “I heard so and so has just got married” is usually pretty harmless. But if the information has an extra dimension that has the potential to hurt or wound that person ( or in my case take me to a place or time which is unimaginably painful) , the person delivering it becomes extricably linked to the news they passed on, and therefore part of the problem . So “I hear so and so has just got married” delivered to someone who has been jilted ,has the ability to hurt the person hearing it. ”
Let me explain . There are certain words that I find too painful to say ,let alone type , but in order for this to make a sense , I will type one of them – sepsis .
In the past year ,2 men we know have had sepsis and both been admitted to ITU . Thankfully ,both survived .
So when their condition is casually mentioned in conversation , it discombobulates me and not only am I shocked and sad and thrown off kilter , I also think to myself , has the person who has uttered those words either
1.forgotten what has happened
2.or are they so devoid of empathy ,that they don’t think it will effect me
3.or maybe worst of all , they think I’ve got over it .

I’ve watched 3 of this series ‘Peaky Blinders’ and still not sure if I really like it

Last night I caught up on all my missed while on holiday ,  TV viewing …
And are thoughts and feelings are ….
Why , in GBBO , apart from Phil ,who is 56 , why are there no other contestants over 50 ?
The Danes do drama so well – ‘Under the Surface’ – so gripping .Loved it .
I was so gripped , I couldn’t breathe in the final half hour of The Handmaid’s Tale’ . Then I blubbed .When Rita and Luke hugged , there wasn’t a dry eye in the sitting room .
As for ‘This Way Up’ , I’ve only got one to go .and the song ‘Zombie’ has taken on a whole different persona.

Not the bike so much , but being on the water

As if things were’t sporty enough , I hired a bike .
What could be easier ? In The Netherlands ,EVERYONE cycles .Motorists respect cyclists .There are 2 metre wide tarmac cycle lanes . It is easy – unless you are me and take a look left at Bel’s kibbling and chips caravan , hit the kerb , don’t put your feet down and smash your head on the concrete . The only saving grace was that there were no other cyclists around. I did what all hardened cyclists do , picked up my bike , soaked up the blood , went home and never got on the dam thing again !
I fared better with the kayaking and let the others zoom round the canals in our little motor-boat , while I sat there like the figurehead . Although I do admit to being a bit nervous when going under a bridge which is only 30cm above the top of the hull .Every time someone shouted out ‘Bridge’ , J,J& F just ducked , while I found myself lying on the bottom of the boat .I guess I just didn’t want to hit my head again .
Despite the bash on the head , the dented pride and the realisation I’m crap at anything sporty , I loved it

I bet you didn’t know that The Wadden Sea was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014 – impress your friends , bring it up at the next local quiz night !?

At first I thought I wasn’t going to cope …no chance to go to the toilet beforehand , 2 people having to have their shoes taped to their ankles , a guide with rope, flares ( off the survival not the sixties trousers type ) and all other kind of life-saving stuff and wearing rubber surfing boots , a group of athletic looking people ( including my family ) and me .
It’s dam hard to describe a Wadlopen walk .During certain times of the year, groups of hikers traipse across mudflats located in the Wadden Sea to experience the vastness of the mudflats and see birds , wildlife and islands that are usually cut off from the Dutch mainland. We did it last Friday , on Johnnie’s birthday .It was certainly one to remember
Although it might seem simple enough, hiking across mudlflats is actually quite perilous, especially when your name is John and you have the responsibility of not letting me fall over / sink / drown or show myself up .
Well , it was bloody amazing – after the initial stress of walking about 400metres out to sea ,over deep sinking sand and therefore not being able to put your foot down for more than 1 second , we reached the oyster beds and things perked up as
1) i could look around rather than at my feet , and it was so beautiful.
2.I had stayed vertical
3. We waded through rivers and estuaries ( my favourite bit ) .
4. We saw crabs with trapeziums on their backs and 2 penii
5 .There was an overwhelming sense of achievement
and then
Kibbling, chips and beer
I won the first game of Monopoly

No sat nav then – just The AA road map of Europe

Thank you Darren for the beautiful background colour and the wonderful photos – isn’t the last one sad ?
Funnily enough , looking at those photos is like reading my old diaries- it takes me back to a specific place and time . All I remember about that photo is Rosie’s flowery dress and our flowery wall paper . I don’t remember the occasion .I really really hope she didn’t stay sad for long .
The windbreak photo was taken on a beach in Brittany and weirdly I’ve been thinking of those Keycamp holidays we used to do . The reason those holidays are in my head is because we’re packing up the car to go to Friesland to walk on the Wadden Sea . Don’t ask questions , google it and you’ll see the adventure Jacob and Florence gave me for Christmas..
Anyway ,I digress, back to the car , it used to be rammed . We were all wedged in with stuff . Every year we cranked it up a gear , and for the last 3 trips , we drove to Spain . We’d Eurotunnel it around 7pm and then John and I would take it in turns to drive ,while the kids slept .it is the only time in my life I’ve drunk red Bulls and circled Lyon 3 times as I didn’t want to wake John up ! We’d be in Pals in time for breakfast
I could write more ,but it makes me too sad to think about it and too fearful that maybe everyone didn’t enjoy it as much as me .