Here's my latest column in The Wokingham Paper
I'm writing this column with a silly summer cold and "medical" hay fever which has floored me somewhat. I spent the weekend being busy around the home and quite probably burnt the candle at both ends so I am shelving all my plans this week and concentrating on getting back to good health and full steam.
On Saturday a friend came by to pickup a low ridge beach cruiser bike I had bought on a whim. Whilst it's a great bike I rarely use it and every time I look for something in the shed I have to climb over stuff I have just thrown in. Amazing what you can find! Once I had cleared 4 bikes out I saw 5 boxes that I had not looked at for ages. 16 years to be precise and I know that as the newspapers were from 2000 when we moved here. Oh I had fun gingerly opening the boxes and getting quite nostalgic at the things I found. I now have extra plates and a large number of bowls, always useful as someone is bound to break something. I also found gazillions of beaker cups and plastic plates that are heading to the charity shop as well as an oil cloth that will do for the garden. Of course with loads of broken bits I had to go to the tip so went twice on Saturday. When I got back from the tip I found more stuff to take so thankfully my insomnia was at full pelt and I was at the tip at 8am (some people had queued from 710am) on Sunday, 20 minutes later I was at Popes Meadow waking the dog when I saw a majestic heron so quickly snapped it with my iPhone. I'm no photographer but I'm mighty pleased with the photo. Fiona from Frilly Pickers came over to help me with the garden and we worked for 2 hours which spurred me on to get cracking. Not easy with hay fever!
My hayfever is two fold. I have "medical" hay fever and also "emotional" hay fever and the children noticed the latter when we were watching a dedication to the late and utterly brilliant Victoria Wood. Laree remarked I'd also cried at EastEnders but I said it was when Peggy was told she had a brain tumour. My darling best ever friend Clare Chauffepied had breast cancer which spread to her brain and she died in November and I miss her dreadfully. I support The Brain Tumour Charity and their brilliant brain tumour symptoms card campaign HeadSmart. To get your hands on a symptoms card you can either contact them direct or text SMART to 81400 and get immediately. I also had hay fever when Will the Wokingham & Emmbrook Girls Football U11 manager presented the outgoing football coach John Lilley with a gift from us all. John has been coaching the girls for 7 years and has been brilliant with our gaggle of girls. He will be missed but we are looking forward to Andy coaching. For more information on the club have a look at their website and Facebook page.
If, like me, you have a Labrador you might be interested to know about the exciting weekend at Fawley Hill the home of The Hon. Sir William McAlpine Bt and The Hon. Lady McAlpine. Starting on Friday at 10am the Vintage & Steam Weekend runs until Sunday and I promise you it is brilliant. Oh yes Labradors, well Ben Fogle will be there and there's plans to set a Guinness World Record for the largest amount of Labradors in an open space. Should be fun! Lady McAlpine also organises the Traditional Boat Festival in July which is a great family event. If you go along do say hello to Daisy Ices and Vintage Turnaround.
My lot are all looking forward to half term, they've been working very hard this term. Laree had SATS and Mook has had 2 GCSEs. I appreciate that for some this is a stressful time but thankfully it's not been the case here. I have written about exam stress on the blog, and also have some reviews to add on that will make your life easier. After half term it's then down hill free wheel to the end of term and I can guarantee I'll have hay fever. End of an era. After 14 years of junior school runs that'll be it.
I'm welling up thinking about it!