It's been a good 7 months since I last blogged, but life here has been somewhat difficult at times.
Three weeks after my last blog in June, my Mum died & although we lived 300 miles apart, that didn't lessen the shock or the sadness. She'd been ill for quite a while & had gone into hospital the week before, but we all expected her to go home again - she always had in past. This time, though, she went & died instead.
And that's not what you expect your Mum to do, is it ?
Every Sunday afternoon since I got married, we'd chat on the phone & for a few months, Sunday's were hard to get through. My Dad always used to answer the phone & we'd have a few words before he passed the phone over to my Mum. Fairly typical of kids, no matter how old they are - they always chat to Mum & poor ol' Dad gets everything second hand :o) But now Dad & I chat instead. It's different, but it's comforting in a way :o) I've also learned how to Skype, which he's been doing for quite a while, so that's something we do now, as well.
Shaun was also in & out of hospital from January to November for various things and there's now the possibility of a big operation sometime this year, unless those in the know can come up with something else.
With everything that had happened, Christmas wasn't something I was looking forward to. I've always loved Christmas & especially the excitement in the run up to it - buying & making cards & presents, wrapping them, putting up the tree & the decorations, but I just couldn't get into the spirit of it this time, even with two excited little grandsons. I just seemed stressed to the point of exploding & pebble dashing everything around me :o) I didn't even watch *It's a Wonderful Life*, something I've done in December for as long as I can remember.
I knew it was going to be difficult, but my daughter & her partner asked us round for Christmas dinner & they made it so lovely & special. It was the first Christmas Day I'd not cooked dinner since I was 20, so it really was a treat. We had a wonderful day & I just cried like a baby at the presents they gave me. They were such thoughtful presents & so *me* :o)
From the boys I had a key ring of 3 washer type rings, one large brass coloured one & 2 smaller silver ones. Engraved /punched on the larger one it said
*This Grandma belongs to* and the smaller ones had the boys' names on. It's just so lovely but I can't put it on my keys in case it gets scratched, so at the moment, it's still in it's box on my bedside table.
The present from my daughter & her partner, though, just blew me right out of my elf slippers :o)
Yes, these very ones !!
Back in the summer, we'd gone into Halfords to get the boys a pair of cycling gloves each. They'd seen the cut down ones Shaun has for wearing on his whizzy whizzy & they both decided they wanted to be like Grandad :o)
Anyhooooo. I left Shaun to make his way upstairs in the lift & I walked up the stairs. As soon as I got on the top step, there, right in front of me was THE most beautiful bike :o) It was very *Call the Midwife* in style - peppermint green in colour, cream tyres, a wicker basket on the front, leather seat, leather hand grips & a rack on the back to carry things on. I walked past it to get the cycling gloves, but I kept going back to look at it. As soon as Shaun came out of the lift I told him I'd got the gloves but *come & look at this bike - isn't it gorgeous ???*
Later in the day, I told my daughter we'd got the gloves for the boys & I mentioned that I'd seen a lovely bike. We had a bit of a back & forwards about what it looked like & that was it. I thought no more about it until, on Christmas Day, I was presented with it !! It was such a surprise. I had no idea she'd even taken that much notice of the conversation !!
This pic doesn't do it justice though - it was taken quickly in my daughter's kitchen, surrounded by the Christmas goodies on the work top :o)
Now, the biggest fear I had was - I've not been on a bike for at least 10 years & although they say it comes back, I'm 10 plus years older. I might be well upholstered, but I'm pretty sure if I fall off, it's still going to hurt !! :o) I also worried about what the neighbours would think when they saw me - a fat lump wobbling down the road on a green bike !! :o) However, with the wind & the rain, plus the few days of bitter cold we've had since Christmas, I've only managed to get out on it once & I have to say, it DOES come back to you :o) After the initial wobble of getting started, once I was along the prom, I was OK :o) I bombed along like I last rode yesterday & I bet my Mum was somewhere, cheering me on as I whizzed about :o)
I rode around for about 40 minutes but had to have a couple of rest stops because my thighs complained. A LOT. As did my BTM after a while, but the strangest feeling of all was in my knees. They felt as if I'd put them on backwards. That happens a lot, to be fair, but this time, it actually felt like my leg bones had disappeared & all I had left was a pair of jelly filled legs with knees facing the wrong way !! Most peculiar.
Because the way home is 99% uphill, I walked the bike back & to be honest, it was probably the best thing to do because somehow, my knees managed to turn themselves back the right way round & my bones miraculously grew again :o) I'm sure if I'd have found a bench & sat down, I'd still be there today !! :o)
So, now I know I CAN still ride a bike, albeit somewhat in a wobbly way, but the neighbour thing I've yet to encounter :o) Still, if it makes them laugh or smile, it can only be a good thing, right ? :o)
A word of warning though - if you see a large lady on a peppermint green bike heading towards you, MOVE !! Just in case !! :o)
Oh, the pic I've used at the top of my blog is a Day Lily, one of my favourite flowers. It's there to remind us that there IS summer after winter & happiness after sadness :o)