Friday, 25 October 2013

It seemed like such a good idea at the time ...

My daughters have decided to swap beds.  Not rooms, just the beds.   It also seemed like an ideal opportunity to go through the stuff that they both have in their rooms that somehow seems to accumulate without you really noticing.  It seemed like such a good idea at the time but now, most of small daughter's stuff is on the landing whilst we made some space to get around.

It's not looking good.

There is a reason for all of this.  Big daughter has had a 'high up' bed with a ladder for the last nine years or so and now wants a normal 'low down' bed. Small daughter has been desperate for a 'high up' bed for some time and was more than happy to swap her 'low down' bed for big sister's 'high up' one. Small daughter's bed was the easy part.  Big daughter's bed came from IKEA and wouldn't go through the door without dismantling.  Cue lots of muttering, flying allen keys and bolts that we were in danger of losing until big daughter produced a storage pot from somewhere in the bathroom that saved us having to go downstairs to root one out.

My husband is at work, of course, and this seemed like one of those things that we could easily do over the last days of the school holidays (taking apart and re-building IKEA furniture is not his favourite pastime so we have saved ourselves from more muttering) - even though I knew that it would take longer and involve more mess than I hoped.  

The beds are up in their new places now, the bedding is ready to go on and we are returning to something like normal.  Big daughter is busy rearranging the rest of her bedroom furniture as teenagers are wont to do.  Small daughter has sneaked off to watch TV.  Her stuff is still all over the landing and I can't get into my bedroom until it's moved.

It's going to be a long afternoon.


Sunday, 20 October 2013

Raindrops and Rosehips

It's been a busy couple of weeks but they've been good ones.

First off, my Dad and my brother both have birthdays in October so we have an annual family meet-up to celebrate both of them at the same time.  We've done various things together over the years, and this year we decided to make the most of a glorious Autumn weekend and head to Derbyshire for a walk in the hills.  As you can imagine, the dog was the first one to be ready, keen to get out and about with all those new smells!

We went to Monsal Dale in the Peak District National Park, somewhere new to us all.  My brother and his wife are seasoned walkers who, along with my Dad, will think nothing of a ten or twelve mile walk in a day.  However, we've got people with much shorter legs to think about, and whilst the dog would have cheerfully tackled a twelve mile walk, small daughter wouldn't.  So we used our book Derbyshire Walks with Children and found a much more suitable four mile walk instead.  

After a steep hill up, we were out in the hills and quickly found ourselves far too hot with our jackets on.  Naturally, as it was a birthday weekend we managed to pack some essential supplies in our rucksack ...

... but unfortunately we forgot to pack a knife so we just pulled chunks off the cake and ate it in a very unsophisticated manner - and it tasted wonderful!  There's something about food eaten outdoors anyway, but sharing our picnics and the birthday cake made it all taste extra-special.

We continued on our walk.  Small daughter insisted on walking at the front, waving the stick that she had found and singing to herself as she marched ahead.  Then came my Dad, my brother and his wife and big daughter, with my husband and me bringing up the rear with the dog (who needed to stay on his lead because of livestock, much to his disgust).  It was lovely to watch the different generations of the family together, and all the more so because we don't often get chance to spend much time together during the year.

We stopped for a welcome drink and ice-cream at Hobb's cafe at Monsal Head - clearly a popular choice as the place was very busy.  Luckily for us, they weren't so busy that they couldn't put our rucksack safely away when we forgot it and had to go back for it!

Our walk took us on to a weir where we had quite a job keeping both the dog and small daughter out of the water.  It wasn't helped by the fact that small daughter's uncle was encouraging them both to leap in - although I noticed he wasn't offering to carry small daughter back to the car after she'd been fished out soaking wet!  

We moved on quickly before anyone got drenched and found ourselves on the last section of our walk.

The scenery was beautiful and the sky much bluer than the photos show.  In fact, it was perfect walking weather and we wished the weather could have been the same the following weekend when big daughter went back to Derbyshire to complete her Duke of Edinburgh expedition.  Sadly, it threw it down all weekend and she was one very wet and tired daughter when we went to pick her up from the train station - but we were still very proud of her for completing her expedition!

The rain continued for most of the week, with a break in the clouds one morning when I drove my husband to the station long enough to give this beautiful sunrise ...

... and later on whilst out with the dog the sun was still shining.  Doesn't the sun look huge in this photo?  I took it without really being able to see as the sun was in my eyes, but I think it looks amazing!

On the whole, the dog and I have spent the week being rather wet when we've been out on our walks.  It didn't stop me collecting these, though.

These little treasures are rosehips and I've been wanting to make syrup with them ever since I found the recipe in my favourite drinks book.  They contain more Vitamin C than citrus fruit and were regularly made into syrup during rationing, but obviously I'm not old enough to remember that!  I do remember my Mum buying rosehip syrup to give to my brother when he was a baby, though, and I can remember trying it too and thinking it was wonderful.  So, I decided to make the most of the hedgerow gift and make some for myself. 

And this is it!  It doesn't taste quite the same as I remember it, but it's still rather nice all the same.  

Monday, 7 October 2013

Monthly Musing - October 2013 - Magnetic Attraction

I’ve been reading recently about the Law of Attraction.  Simply put, the Law states that whatever you think about, you attract into your life at some point in the future.  You act as a huge magnet that turns your thoughts into reality.  There are books about it, films about it - you’d think everyone would know about it.  And it certainly sounds simple enough, but no doubt it’s easier said than done.

It made me think carefully about my life.  Perhaps it has worked for me as I have the lovely home and family that I’ve always imagined and hoped for.  I thought about other people that I know – and no doubt you know some too – who lurch from one disaster or illness to another, always complaining, always expecting the worst, and seemingly always getting it.  It made me wonder whether there was something to this Law after all.

If it is true that all we need to do to turn our thoughts to reality is focus very clearly on what we want rather than what we don’t want, then the real experts are children.  If I was to ask small daughter to draw her ideal bedroom, for example, I would get the most beautifully detailed picture.  Her focus is amazing and it works with teenagers too; big daughter knows exactly the sort of car she wants and the furniture for when she has her own house.  A girl at my school dreamed of being a doctor and now that’s what she does for a living.  So when do we stop believing that we can have our dream houses, our dream cars, our dream lives?  Some people might say it’s when you start working and ‘living in the real world’, but that just implies that the real world isn’t a nice place which I’m sure isn’t right.  So why are we more likely to focus on what’s wrong with our lives instead of what’s right with them? 

Whether you believe that the Law of Attraction works or not (and if it did, I’d have a yacht and four holidays a year, you might say), it must surely be a good thing to focus on positive rather than negative aspects of your life.  It’s not easy, as for some reason it’s much easier to spiral downwards into despondency that remain cheerful when things aren’t going your way.  I try to deal with unpleasant situations by thinking how much worse off someone else must be at that particular moment, and when you look at the newspapers, there’s always someone worse off than you. 

I think it’s time I followed my daughters’ lead and stopped being limited by the ‘real world’.  I might not end up with a yacht or a mansion, but if imagining the world as a happier place with less poverty and sadness could potentially make it happen, then it’s certainly worth a go.  I think so, anyway.

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