Julia, a surrogate Granddaughter

 

 

 

Arriving as you did out of the blue from a foreign shore
a young girl of fifteen exhibiting such a wealth of courage
Increasing our trio of granddaughters to a total of four.

Eleven months ahead of you for a new life to explore
Albeit uncertainty and homesickness firstly to abridge
Arriving as you did out of the blue from a foreign shore.

Embracing each challenge while misgivings you’d ignore
Blending into family life with strangers not easy to manage
Increasing our trio of granddaughters to a total of four.

Accepting and accepted ‘twas time your new life to explore
Sightseeing, schooling, animals the whole Aussie package
Arriving as you did out of the blue from a foreign shore.

Easily emerging for Brazil an exemplary young ambassador
Congratulations Julia on the way you handled this voyage
Increasing our trio of granddaughters to a total of four.

From Poppy and Lyn our best wishes with you evermore
You will always be considered our family love appendage
Eleven months ahead of you for a new life to explore
Arriving as you did out of the blue from a foreign shore

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Mothers Day

What does it mean to you?

I get so very upset when I see the bombardment of advertisements spruiking their sales pitch, aimed at instilling a feeling of guilt to those that don’t buy their Mum the biggest or best and of course most expensive gift, or the flipside being those that bemoan it’s just far too commercial now.

          The truth of the matter is most Mums don’t want or expect expensive gifts, that’s not what Mother’s day is supposed be about. The words I love you Mum from any offspring of any age outclasses any other Mother’s day gift on earth.

          I for one thank god I was blessed with the gift of our children, who by just being themselves have given me more riches than money could ever buy, commercialism has nothing to do with my idea of Mother’s day I need no extra gifts, I have had a life time full of them every day, and to all Mums out there, I know deep down it is the same, we are a very privileged band of people.  

          As I look into the faces of my adult children on this special day, I find myself slipping back in time, to a much younger Mum’s place.

          The diamond earrings that were purchased at the flea market with saved pocket money and given with such love and excitement you were wrong Mummy, diamonds don’t cost a lot of money at the market, putting up with the green rings that formed from wearing them.

          A plastic string of love hearts, given with such majesty as if they were pearls. Being confided to by the mother that sold our daughter the metal soap shaker, that when she tried to persuade this first grader to buy something “pretty” for Mum from the stall, she was told in no uncertain way, Mummy doesn’t like them she needs a new shaker, that shaker, well used and now rusty, resides in my treasure box along with the things that were bought with more love than money.

          It is remembering the cold bread, butter and Vegemite sandwich served with tea made with cold water, because you know I am not allowed to use the toaster or kettle till I am seven.

          While chopping wood for the fire and overhearing our young son tell his friend, when I grow up I want to have muscles like Mummy…. Or all those cuddles that were needed NOW.

          These are a fraction of the priceless memories that are sealed with love and bound to my heart that make up Mother’s day for me, to be revisited at any given time, not only on the second Sunday in May.

Every Mum has a treasure trove like this hidden away, so to all out there that are Mums, will one day be Mums or to those that take on a Mum’s role, you have got the best gift of all,  cherish it, it’s a very important one …  Happy Mother’s Day

Aunty Eileen

Day 29

Sunday …31st Good morning rain, and your friend Slight Breeze.

Today again saw Susan, Pat and I off to meet yet more relations, albeit only a small twig of Pat’s family tree on her Mother’s side, this time in Wavertree in Liverpool.

It was an elderly lady who answered Pat’s knock on the door, and replied no! Aunty Mary! to Pat’s somewhat hesitant querying  Aunty Eileen! Please do come in Eileen is in the lounge room. Introductions made and we were led into meet Pat’s Aunty Eileen, a very frail little old lady of eighty seven years, who we were soon to discover was recuperating from a broken hip, resulting from a fall taken in her lounge room not long past.

In the mean time while awaiting those family members still to arrive, we had a chance to get to know these two lovely ladies, Mary is Eileen’s eighty four year old sister and fulltime carer, who readily informed us that there is a constant stream of family members that do drop in daily for company and moral support, not to mention the two visiting nurses who regularly attend, not only to ensure the hip healing process is going to plan but to assist in any other day to day concerns Eileen and/or Mary may have, be it medical or personal.

Honestly Eileen may have been frail of body   but good lord her mind was as fresh and sharp as a twenty year old, her memory was without a doubt faultless, she was answering Pat’s questions on family matters, such as who married who, and what their children’s names were, going back beyond fifty years, as well as naming family members and telling stories from her own childhood.

It was after the rest of the family turned up that we discovered what a wicked sense of humour Eileen possesses. Being an ardent Everton supporter, she knows the name of all the players in the team (both past and present), and wouldn’t think of not watching every single game. We were left without a doubt that she has no time for any other team or their players. Just listening to the teasing repartee ricocheting back and forth between her and her beloved grandson, who happens to follow a different team than hers, had us all almost rolling on the floor with laughter, albeit in admitting her love for him as a grandson, she was very quick to add how sick he was for following the other team.

Of all the new members of my friend’s family I have met in the past six weeks, I have to say that my visit with Aunty Eileen and Aunty Mary was the most rewarding for me from an insightful perspective. It was with a feeling of regret that we had to leave after a very pleasant visit, where again everyone that attended had made us all feel very welcome and proved genuinely pleased that both Susan and Pat had taken the time to look them up and to reconnect as family.

Again I occupied the backseat going home, while the other two chatted about their different thoughts and feelings resulting from their visit to this group of the family that until now had been lost to them. As I had come to expect from UK hospitality, we had been treated to a delicious afternoon tea, consisting of sandwiches, half porkpies and sausage rolls, to name just a few of the goodies on offer, leaving us with little appetite for a big dinner, so tonight we settled for a grilled cheese sandwich, before adjoining to the lounge room where Pat caught Norma up on the news followed by a bit of TV before heading off to bed.

The first family reunion

Day 28

Saturday … 30th … There is sun albeit a very cold wind is again taking the limelight

I was first up this morning, had showered and my hand washing was done and on the cloth line before the others ventured out, there wasn’t a lot planned, just a catch up shopping trip before lunch.

We weren’t home long when Norma’s friends Dot and Bert arrived, Dot to chat and Bert to get into the hothouse where he discovered much to his delight, I had repotted a tray of snow peas out next to a bamboo curtain attached to the outside of the hot house, in the hopes that they would climb there. Norma has started taking a great interest out there, in the last few day she has been busy repotting some seedlings and planting others.

This afternoon Susan, Pat and I went off to Walton in Liverpool to meet up with some of Pat’s family from her Mum’s side. Norma refuses to come as she feels she was slighted by them a while back. It turned out to be rather a fun afternoon watching Pat getting to know the family members she hadn’t seen for over sixty years, and for Susan meeting distant cousins for the very first time.

For Pat being the instigator of the get-together it was a highly emotional time, she had been tracing her family tree diligently for years, then contacting each one she could find on facebook, renewing family ties with the hopes of someday meeting up with them again, and this possibly being her last trip back to her homeland it was somewhat surreal that it had actually come to fruition.

Being that, not only was I unrelated to, nor had had any sort of contact with all those waiting to greet us, I found it very interesting observing the reactions and body language as we entered their home. considering both Susan and Patricia were relatives, albeit never having had any contact with them other than on Pat’s F/B page. As expected it took a little while for everybody to relax and feel comfortable enough to be themselves around the newcomers in their midst,.

It wasn’t long until the conversations started to flow naturally thus generating a wave of warmth and friendship that I could sense filtering through the collective group that made it fun to be part of this family reunion.

By the time we had to take our leave, so many questions had been asked and answered, opening the way for new family links to be forged while others were strengthened with promises to keep in touch. On the way home Susan and Pat reminisced about their discoveries and feelings in becoming newly acquainted with this branch of their family, while I dozed quietly in the back seat.

I was so tuckered out that as soon as I sat down in to lounge I was struggling to keep my eyes open so did the only sensible thing, I wished all a good night and went off to bed. I heard the next morning Pat had done the same thing a few minutes later.

The Inn on the Lake

The above photo was taken off the inn’s web site

Pages 26/27

Thursday …28th … A slightly overcast sky greeted me this morning, although the sun was expected to shine.

Rest day, with a strong gusty wind blowing and intermittent sunshine, you guessed it, laundry day, once the washing is done and flapping merrily on the line, and the morning chores are taken care of we three all do our own thing.

Norma tends to the plants in the hothouse for a while or potters around her garden, as we all have our own laptops we adjourn to our rooms and catch up on emails, friends or writing.      Lunch today is a sandwich of choice, and then it’s back to reading, typing or just chatting until it’s time o prepare dinner and as it wasn’t a very active day we just have a light dinner before adjourning to the lounge room for a spot of TV before bed time.

 

   Friday … 29th Woke to the sound of rain, and I ask myself, why wouldn’t it be a wet day, we are being taken to the Lake District as a treat,

This trip to Glenridding  Village had been arraigned by Ian and Lindsay a couple of weeks back, the lake district being a must see for visiting tourist, it’s also where they were married so remains a very special place for the both of them. We set off in two cars being that there are too many of us  to fit comfortably in one, Lindsay and young Harry in one, while Ian is chauffeuring his mum in the front passenger seat, Pat and myself in the back with Ozzy … the dog …  sitting quietly  in the boot section behind us.

                        The rain had eased during the drive but not the wind, on alighting from the vehicle I could feel its freezing bite heading straight to my bones. Majestically imposing, the building itself was what I have come to expect here. The Inn on the Lake, Glenridding, Ullswater, Cumbria, CA11 0PE. Recently awarded 4 AA stars and two rosettes, it enjoys one of the most spectacular settings in the Lake District on 15 acres of grounds, with lawns sweeping to the shores of Lake Ullswater. The village is popular with mountain walkers who can scale England’s third highest mountain, Helvellyn, and many other challenging peaks from here. A dog friendly hotel with its own outdoor activities including 9 hole pitch and putt golf course, croquet lawn and children’s outdoor play area.

We decided to wander through the village itself first, and seeing the Glenridding Public hall was having a craft market we headed over there, where  talented locals were selling their creations, Pat bought a lovely wooden wine glass holder that fits over the neck of the wine bottle as gift for her hubby Bill. There was so many beautifully crafted treasures, jewellery, hand knitted goods, or toys, albeit our main trouble being we are so limited in what we can buy to take on the plane.  Next stop was the quaint little tourist shop that seemed to sell anything from postcards, snacks, and souvenirs through to kiddies wear.

It was soon time to return so we could explore the grounds of the inn, rounding the corner of the building itself to an awe inspiring panoramic view  spread out before us, framed by side boundaries of various flowering shrubs and bushes all doing the dance of the uninhibited to the beat of the relentless gusts of icy cold wind,  the vivid green of manicured lawns separated by a wide arrow-straight path, itself defined by a meticulously clipped low hedge, both leading to the edge of the lake that today is dressed in her best shimmering slate grey,  appearing to almost meet up in the distance with … save but for the misty smudge that depicted the distant shore … the dark rolling nimbostratus clouds that had blocked the sunlight, thus preventing what would have been to all intents and purposes a picture perfect vision.

Wandering to the water’s edge where Ozzy is let off his leash, this freedom has him racing to what appears to be a lake overflow pool which on close inspection houses hundreds of tiny little fish that are constantly weaving in and out between the water weeds growing there. Without any hesitation Ozzy runs into the water splashing and thrashing around having a wonderful time.

Harry had wandered to the end of a small pier, Ian found a stick which he threw into the lake, sending Ozzy off with tail wagging and an open mouth tongue lolling grin into the water in a mad dash to grab it, with Harry yelling encouragement and pointing to the floating stick as it drifts to and fro in the choppy water, the dog happily retrieves it and returns it to shore, this game went on until we were all feeling the need for warmth and a comforting hot drink so headed  back into the Inn.

Passing through the Lake View lounges to the unique Orangery with 360 degree views of the lake and surround- fells to enjoy afternoon tea. To my utter amazement  the moment we were seated a waiter came bearing a dog bowl containing fresh water and placed it on the floor at Ozzie’s paws, gave him a friendly pat and with a warm smile in our direction quietly withdrew. Our waiter took our drink orders, and confirmed the afternoon tea menu was to our liking then left only to return a short while later.

Placing alongside a fresh fruit, sliced ham and cheese platter a basket of aromatic  warm garlic bread that immediately had our mouths watering, soon followed by two three tiered serving plates of sandwiches, little pork pie halves, sweet and shortbread biscuits not to mention an assortment of cream cakes to please any palate, without a doubt a spread fit for royalty. Harry unimpressed by all the delicacies before him ordered his favourite bacon barm, English for bread roll, and  a hot chocolate drink.

While we were enjoying our sumptuous respite, we were watching with great interest a wedding party assembling on the patio outside the Lake View lounges. With her elbow length veil floating in the wind and wearing a figure hugging snow white wedding gown the Bride looked dazzling, resting her arm on that of I assume her father’s, while her attendants dressed in sleeveless what appeared to be Cadbury blue gowns, waited for the cue to lead them down the path to the gazebo, set up halfway down the lawn towards the lake.

It was while they were signing the register certificates that the rain came slicing down on their guests who were not under cover, causing them to leave their seats and make a run for the shelter of the Inn, it was only a short wait until the rain passed so the newly married couple were able to walk with dignity back to their guests without getting wet.

After a second round of coffee and hot chocolates and with most of the afternoon tea consumed, it was time to make our way home, bringing to an end what had been a wonderful fun day, thanks to Lindsay and Ian’s generosity. On being dropped off at home, we three girls went straight to the lounge room for reminiscence on the day, a little TV and bed

Day 20

Friday … 22ndOpening the drapes revealed a flat slate grey sky presiding over a damp world, not a flicker of movement in the trees, the perfect setting one would expect to come across in any Stephen King novel.

Number one … let me start by saying Happy Birthday Bindy.

First and foremost this diary was my way of backing-up memories of a trip I offered to participate in to support my friend, feeling it was not a good time for her to make such a long tedious journey alone. That being said, I see no point in noting down or expanding on the sadness experienced by the family and friends that gathered today to farewell Joe, suffice to say that the three Eulogies delivered in turn by Pat, Gemma and Ian, will stay with me for the duration without any need of notes.

The wake held after the service started out as most do, and then all adjourned to a separate venue for a light lunch and chat, assuming this part of our day would take a couple of hours was surely underestimated, family members catching up after long absences, life sometimes just gets in the way of visiting back and forth, long lost friends reunited in a common grief.

After almost four hours it was time to exit the venue, hugs, tears and promises of more frequent visits in the future as many guests took their leave, allowing the family and close friends the chance to return to Norma’s home for a more intimate wake.

There was food and drink aplenty laid out, toasts were offered up for Joe, as the stories relating to his adventures,  sporting achievements, the mischief he got up to and the normal day to day little things were told, memories returned of fun times. I wasn’t long before there was more laughter than tears as the day slipped unnoticed into night. It was very clear that he was much loved and respected and there was many sides that made up the man these people were honouring.

After the last guest left, the usual kitchen tidy up took a little longer, but was attended to willingly, as Norma still running on adrenalin, I think, chatting about how well it went, and how surprised and grateful she was that so many came to say goodbye to Joe, and how pleased she was that so many had chosen to make a donation to his favourite charity, instead of taking flowers to his funeral.

            She is a strong lady, I admire her strength and her courage, even though it won’t be easy for  her, I am in no doubt with the loving family support she has in abundance, given  time she will be fine.

 

R.I.P. Joe

Day … 19

Thursday … 21st … Cloudy with only a gentle breeze, but still damn cold outside

Was a late start today, didn’t hear anyone moving around down stairs, so I lay in bed until eight thirty, when I arrived in the kitchen I see Norma has indeed been up and put the gammon on to boil, this takes about an hour or so, after which she scores the fat surround and inserts cloves into the slots before popping it into a hot oven, for about twenty mins to half an hour.

Pat wandered in so we all had brekkie, cleaned up the kitchen and headed off to the local supermarket to pickup last minute goodies for the family get-together Norma’s catering for tonight, once back home it’s all systems go, Pat starts making a tossed salad, Norma prepares the gammon for the oven, I am sent out into the hot house to attend to a  parcel of seedlings that we found on the doorstep. on our arrival from the supermarket, it appears Joe had ordered them prior to becoming ill.

Next came lunch where we all ended up having cheese and crackers with a hot drink of our choice, just as we were finishing,  a knock on the door and in walks Ian, just dropped in to check his mum was doing ok, I did the dishes and een upstairs to my room, leaving the three of them discussing family  matters.

Once Ian left ,while  Norma tended to cooking a large slab of salmon, Pat and I  bought in extra chairs,  I ducked into the shower while the other two set the table up with glasses and nibbles, the gamin was by this time out of the oven cooling, but the mouth watering aroma was almost cruel knowing we couldn’t sample any.

My only contact with the family results from a forty one year close friendship with Joe’s sister Pat, Patricia whom I accompanied on a visited here for a month twelve years ago, admittedly Susan and her hubby John came to Aus last February, for a visit with Pat and her family, and of course we reconnected.

Tonight was a bitter sweet gathering, where I, as last time was treated as a long standing member of the family, the memories shared bought forth laughter as well as tears, they toasted Joe as a Husband, father, Grand Father and as a friend, with Champagne, and bubbling grape juice for we non drinkers, tomorrow   morning we will all gather again to say a final good bye, it will be a sad, sad day.

On a brighter note, after everyone left we took  our hot drinks of choice into the lounge room for a spot of TV, I was waiting in anticipation until ten forty five pm, being  six forty five am Aussie time, so I could safely ring our daughter in Aus to wish her a happy birthday, she is a sleepy head in the mornings, I knew it was fifteen minutes before her alarm goes off, I’m sure she will find it in her heart to forgive me when she thinks about it later J. It was lovely touching base and having a chat, luckily home sickness doesn’t affect me as such, but every now and again I miss my family and the pets, but it’s a more peaceful sleep I’ll get tonight thanks to chatting with Bindy.

Days 14 and 15

Saturday … 16th … Rain overnight, but sun shining brightly on rising.

It’s good to see Norma has started eating brekkie again; just a single slice of toast but it’s a start,   had to get straight into the morning chores because Susan, John and Gemma along with Ian and Lindsay were expected reasonably early, they were all off to attend more funeral arraignments.

            A friend of Pat’s hubby arrived to see her while the family were out, so was up to me to welcome him as well as keep him company until they returned, Chris was a nice man and very chatty, filling me in on interesting times he and Bill Pat’s Hubby had had over their fifty odd years of friendship, that extended over the two countries.

In time the family arrived, introductions made and a pleasant hour or two passed unnoticed amid all the chatter, until it was time for the family to leave. Chris stayed on to share lunch with we three ladies, it had worked out well for him because he lived quite a distance away, and as he had come to watch a football match, he was able to kill the two birds with one stone,  so to speak.

                        Once Chris had departed to go watch his football game, we three all hit our PC,s  what an age we live in, Oh well it is what it is. I only had a short break as it was my turn to prepare dinner and they wanted potato bake which entails a lot of chopping, slicing and dicing of vegies, all really worth it as it’s a tasty and nourishing meal. The nightly kitchen clean up takes place, after which is the usual wind down time in front of TV before bed.

Sunday … 17th … The sun appears to be playing a game of hide and seek with the fluffy grey clouds who are being aided by a somewhat gusty wind.

After brekkies, the other two disappear to their room, to check email and no doubt facebook, I decide to do some hand washing, as I’m hanging out a pair of jeans I had washed in a bucket, Norma sticks her head out the door to ask if I have washing needs doing, she’s about to put a load on, honestly I couldn’t win, if I had the only ticket they’d cancel the draw.

            Norma went inside to type up the order of service she had designed for the upcoming funeral, Pat started weeding between the cement blocks that make up the outdoor patio, leaving me to play in the hothouse. I had just starting sorting out all the different size containers and empty plant pots, when I heard familiar voices, Susan, John, Gemma and Matthew had arrived, I am astonished at the amount of support Norma’s children and their families bestow on her, the Canon was expected a little later and they were gathering for the meeting.

            All four new arrivals wander out to say hi, chat for a bit and then the two girl and Matthew go back in to visit with Norma, while John gallantly takes the shovel from Pat and does the harder task of digging the weeds. I did manage to get all the plants watered and to transplant some lettuce seedlings into separate pots before being called in to lunch. We had just finished eating when Ian, Lindsay and young Harry arrive.

            Through lunch and all the chatting, eighteen year old Matthew who has A level exams tomorrow and Tuesday is sitting at the table, doing his school assignments as if he was in the privacy of his bedroom, amazing. A knock on the door announces the arrival of the Cannon, Norma, Susan, Ian, Pat and Gemma join her in the lounge room to discuss the funeral service leaving the rest of us to chat in the kitchen. This being the first time I’ve been privy to procedures involved in the preparation of a funeral, I had no idea, it strikes me that entry into this life is a lot less complicated than leaving it.

            By the time everyone said farewell it was time for Patricia to prepare dinner, tonight she chose to cook us a delicious Veggie mash topped potato and beef mince casserole, after which was time to tidy the kitchen and adjourn to the lounge for TV time before bed.

.

Days 5, 6, 7 and 8

Thursday 7th … Sunny till lunch time then nonstop rain til bedtime.

The phone call from the hospital came for Norma at approximately 8.15am, she left within ten minutes, telling Pat, who was actually woken by the call, to ring a taxi, and to please try to contact Ian and ask him to go to the hospital A.S.A.P. As it turned out Susan rang and offered Pat a lift with her, she was also rushing to be by her dad’s bedside. As so often happens in these circumstances, Joe passed away before Norma or the others arrived, albeit he had not been alone, a nursing sister had been by his side. In given time the sad family returned home to grieve in private.

Friday 8th and Saturday 9th Peter and my 51st wedding anniversary, I rang and wished him a happy anniversary, (he assured me it was a pleasant surprise)

Both days followed roughly the same pattern family gathering, and then departing to finalise all the loose ends left when a person dies, friends dropping in, countless cups of tea and coffee. Stories of happier times, sowing seeds that in time hopefully will bloom into shoots of healing, all this unfolding as outdoor the rain and wind appeared to be registering their sadness in their own cold miserable way.

Sunday 10th … Mothers day back home is almost over … again waking up to overcast skies but with the sun breaking through.

First things first, it is Mothers day back home and I am missing my family, I think even though I had spoken to Hubby and daughter on the phone yesterday, I’d personally rang because it was our 51st wedding anniversary, strangely enough had I been home, it may very well have gone unnoticed, or at least not celebrated, that being followed so closely by Mothers day, is the key … normally I would have cooked nice lunch, and everyone would have come, enjoyed our meal together, stayed for a few hours and departed for their respective homes, all feeling happy and secure in the knowledge that loving family bonds were holding steady … Noticing on facebook that Shelley, Kasey and Makenna were at other Nana’s, I rang Matt, knowing full well he would want to wish me a happy day. Assuming he would be home with Sierra, … for once I got it right … we had a lovely chat, just hearing his voice made the difference, having our daughter live so close tends to spoil me in one way, but in another it reinforces the fact that our son lives an hour’s drive away, not far by a lot of standards, but I’m his Mum and I miss seeing him as often as I’d like.

We went to the supermarket this morning to restock the pantry, now Pat is in the kitchen cooking a chocolate caramel slice and a lemon cake; it’s nice to have something to offer the folk that keep dropping by to offer Norma their condolences. Then the usual move into the lounge for some relaxing TV time before bed.

Day 2

Monday 4th …  Cloudy with Sunny breaks but expecting showers

Woke at  5.22am, the bed being comfortable and warm prompted a deep sleep leaving me feeling delightedly refreshed, surprisingly without any sign of  the  dreaded jetlag that  I was expecting albeit a little too early to go down stairs, so I dug out my trusty little lap top and went over my notes.

Hearing movement downstairs at 6.30, I decided a cup of coffee was in order so headed off down into the kitchen, made my brew and seeing that as the light was on in what I thought was Pat’s room knocked, the cheery come in clearly indicate I had assumed incorrectly, as the greeting wasn’t from Pat but from Norma. We spent an enjoyable intermission sitting on her bed having a coffee break and chatting away.

Breakfast was a happy time, although I did have a job convincing Norma that smelly black stuff I was lovingly spreading on my toast wasn’t a poisonous substance, only Vegemite, I had smuggled a small container of it through customs inside my suite case, a favourite Aussie spread, she took a close look, and even had a sniff but there was no way in London she was going to have a taste. With the weather threatening to change for the worst over the next few days, we thought it better to take advantage of today’s sunshine and do any laundry we had.

A knock on the door heralded the arrival of Norma’s Daughter Susan with her children Gemma and Matthew, both of whom I had met on my visit thirteen years ago, but of course at that time both were in grade school, the difference now being, Gemma is very much a beautiful talented young woman, whereas Matthew at sixteen, is over six feet tall and very much the young man, although not brave enough to taste my vegemite spread, when his Nana Norma tried to get him too. Norma’s son Ian, his wife Lindsay and their son Harry had also arrived to say Hello.

Norma and Pat had to go to visit Joe in the hospital, Ian and his family left, and Susan announced that if I wanted too she would be happy to take me shopping for some jeans or slacks before heading to the hospital ourselves, being very grateful for that offer I accepted, so off we went, but as I had forgotten to advise my bank that I was off shore before I left home, I’d had to email them my new circumstances, and was awaiting confirmation that it was ok for me to use an English ATM to withdraw cash, Susan  kindly offered to pay any purchases until I had my bank affairs all settled, I’m now pleased to note that of late today, that little discrepancy in my trip planning has been sorted. I am now the proud owner of two pair of new jeans, following the purchase It was then time to meet up with the others at the hospital, after a short visit we all headed off to our respective homes.

Norma was the chief cook tonight; we were spoiled with a delicious meal consisting of roast potatoes, a pork chop and a tomato onion combo, once the dishes were done we adjourned to the lounge room to chat and watch TV before turning in for the night.

To be continued