Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Review of the year 2014

What a great year it's been!

January - workwise, I held my first PR Workshop for beginners which we're doing again this coming January and hopefully every quarter after that. The idea is that local business people will come to our house and brainstorm ideas for doing their own PR.

February - the McBaby visited Paris for the first time! We had a fabulous time, staying in Montparnasse and hooking up with lovely friends.

March - I rediscovered my love of yoga and found an amazing teacher!

April saw us visit the Lake District where we had a fabulous time. The Mcbaby wowed a group of ramblers by climbing up a massive hill.

May - saw the McBaby meet local time-travelling canine celebrity Rolo and I went to a school reunion! Workwise, I started an interesting contract at the NHS, making this a hugely busy month.

June - Two visits down to the sea for the annual World Nettle Eating Championships and the Levellers headlining the inaugural Behind the Castle festival which was amazing. Would love to return this year but can't face an hour-long queue at the bar after having my beer confiscated!

July - second friend of the year back from Oz. Also saw another outstanding Mark Thomas performance. The rest was work, work, work!

August - Some brilliant stories arising from my NHS contract about diabetes work. August is of course Beautiful Days and my sister's festival, plus we added Bunkfest in at the end of the month.

September - Work, work, work, culminating in the Newbury Show where I quit my NHS job!

October - We took the McBaby to Argentina and Uruguay. Amazing month! MrM even went to the Vineyard.

November - A trip to Portsmouth (where my friend and I had a beer with one of my heroes), a birthday party in Cornwall, a trip to Sandbanks and The Cruel Sea.

December - Took the Mcbaby to the Isle of Wight, McBaby's third birthday, a boat trip, a trip up to the top of the church tower and an amazing Christmas in Cornwall.

Happy 2015!!!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

December 2014

The latest adventures of the McBaby -December

1. We climbed to the top of the church tower in town to have a look at the bell tower and then get a view of the town - the McBaby flatly refused to come back down again.

2. Went to Basildon Park to see the Christmas decorations. McBaby played the piano in the main entrance much to everyone's amusement/distress. A nice lady said; "was that you playing the piano -- aren't you clever" To which he replied "NO!"

3. We watched Frozen 4,500 times having been the last people in the world to hold out. McBaby asked for it and when I agreed, he ran down the high street like Anneka Rice in Treasure Hunt, stopping people and saying: "I'm McBaby. Have you got Frozen?"

4. Turned up at a lovely carol singing around the tree event. McBaby stole hundreds of sausage rolls and then when the brass band started up, pointed at the tuba and shouted "that sounds like daddy's bottom". Unfortunately we were standing next to our MP. A couple of years ago, the McBaby called him "daddy" much to everyone's embarrassment.

5. Went to the Isle of Wight. Oh to live on an island and be surrounded by gorgeous beaches. Once again, the McBaby did not want to leave.

6. Took the McBaby to a party or three - all at the same place. I get really nervous at these things and as MrM does the nursery drop off, I don't know any of the parents or children. I tried to get talking to one mum by asking her what her son's name was. She told me and asked me what McBaby's name was.

"Oh HE's McBaby, is he? He got time out for hitting my son on the head." *end of conversation*

7. The McBaby turned three! Can't quite believe the tiny person/huge character was my little helpless baby.

8. Took the McBaby on a canal cruise where he met Santa!

9. Took the McBaby to the amazing lantern procession through town

10. Took the Mcbaby to the Victorian Extravaganza where he asked to go onto the chairoplanes and then cried so heartily they had to stop the ride to get him off.

11. Christmas in Cornwall!

More beaches and more quality time for the McBaby with his cousins.


Silent Sunday 28.12.14

Mawgan Porth on Christmas Day

Monday, 15 December 2014

What I did on my day off

The McBaby and I met for the first time nearly three years ago and in those 1092 days, he and I have only spent one night apart. Until this weekend when MrM took the McBaby down to see his parents. I seized the opportunity to catch up on some work, some reading, some drinking with friends and some using of the complimentary gym pass I was given for gorgeous Audley Inglewood.

In reality, I only did the lazing around in the gym bit. Arriving at Inglewood still retains its majestic splendour even though I seem to be here a couple of times a week and it's fast becoming my second home. The place just looks stunning on a day like today with its white walls contrasting with the pure blue sky.

I headed for the gym and am delighted that the run of exemplary customer service continued here too.

And as I had the pool to myself, I stayed in it swimming up and down for an hour and a half, most of the time fantasising that I was in my very own pool. It's the cleanest, sleekest pool I've ever been in and I have never felt so relaxed. I reluctantly got out and went for a long walk around the town before the day took a much more unhealthy direction.

So, I'm glad to say that I didn't miss my "baby" too much; all it takes is a day out in five-star surroundings to take my mind off him....

The Advent Calendar

This just doesn't get old. Day 15, and we're having the same conversation every day. Note that the pic above is just a Christmsssy one that made me laugh, not the actual advent calendar...

Me: Shall we open your advent calendar?

McBaby: yes please

Me: What is it today?

McBaby: It's chocolate! (in surprised voice).

Me: That's right, it's chocolate. And what's the picture on the chocolate?

McBaby: It's an elephant.

Reminds me of this: Ruud Gullit sitting on a shed:


Saturday, 13 December 2014

Nelson's Diner

I've got to have passed this place on the A339 near Kingsclere between Newbury and Basingstoke thousands of times and have always wanted to stop by; the McBaby and I finally decided it was time to visit and made a dedicated trip. I'm now kicking myself for all of the missed opportunities - this place is a treasure trove!

The outside is a bit unloved but inside, it's full of character with a 50s theme, reminding me of watching repeats of Happy Days while waiting for our tea as youngsters. I was a bit gutted that I didn't get a cheer and around of applause when we went in like the Fonz used to but perhaps I'd jumped the shark at that point. The welcome and service was great and most of the customers in there seemed to be regulars.

The McBaby had a "small" hob nob milkshake which was enormous and he lapped up every bit of it. I had a teacake and a latte (the McBaby didn't really want to share his milkshake) and it was extremely reasonably priced.

We'll definitely be back.

Thursday, 4 December 2014


If you were the staff member in Tesco who was innocently sitting on their chair today before your seat plummeted to the ground suddenly, leaving you peeking over the top of your till, I must apologise on behalf of the McBaby who managed to press the button on your chair in the time it took me to pay for our shopping.

I also apologise for my helpless laughter - not very helpful, I know....