Over this Christmas period I have been wondering what I can write about now that my Bake Off challenge has finished. There are lots of exciting projects coming up in the new year, plus, I have a new business to get off the ground so I’m sure I won’t be short of subject-matter but for now I want to focus on what I loved about 2018. Sometimes our lives just get so busy that we lose track of what really makes us happy. In the run up to Christmas I’m often so stressed out, trying to create the perfect festive atmosphere that I forget to be in the moment and just enjoy it. All too soon it is over and I realise that it has passed me by in a blur. This year I decided to take stock of all the wonderful things that have happened and give thanks in this post.
January 2018, our house was on the market and we were looking for our dream house in the country. We were excited, but at the same time there was a little doubt-monster niggling away at us. You see, we had just become grandparents. Neither of us could fully commit to moving away from our families, and especially from our tiny baby grandson who had captured our hearts. We also celebrated our daughter’s birthday and she came to stay for a few days.
February 2018, our contract with the estate agent was coming to an end. We were disappointed at how unhelpful they had been and since we had not received a single offer on the house we decided to take it off the market and renovate instead. Once we had made the decision the relief we both felt was immense. Once we told family and friends, their delight that we were staying put confirmed that we had made the right call and we began to make plans for the renovations. We needed to find a good builder!
March 2018, my favourite month, the one in which I was born. My mum, sister Em and I went to see Rag ‘n’ Bone Man at the Alexandra Palace. It was a bitterly cold evening and we queued for hours to get in but, man, it was worth it! By the end of the evening we were all hoarse from singing and yelling. It was an incredible experience and we all floated out of the venue, into the cold night on cloud 9. Even the taxi failing to turn up to collect us could not dampen our mood. We finally got back to the guest house, still on a high and spent the night chatting and laughing until our sides hurt. It was a night I will never forget. Vern was in Germany on my birthday, as he often is, so we celebrated together the following weekend. We also made a start to the work on the house, having our noisy old boiler replaced, ready for the next phase.
April 2018, started with Easter, my favourite annual celebration and not just because of the chocolate. I loved the story of Easter as a child, the message of hope and rebirth it sends is one I am particularly fond of. It also means that Spring is arriving, bringing with it new life and warmer weather. My sister had got me tickets to see Sarah Millican at our local theatre, The Hexagon, for my birthday and I was so excited. It was another brilliant night, full of laughter and filth! I have the best time when I’m out with my sister. A few days later we met Paul Lewington, a local glazier, and plans were put in place for our new windows and orangery.
May 2018, Vern was away with his job most of the month but we managed to all get together to celebrate our youngest son’s birthday. The end of this month took a sad downturn when my dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer.
June 2018, Vern was in Poland on business so I supervised the new double glazing going in. Twelve windows and a new set of patio doors were installed within a few days. We then had wooden shutters fitted throughout. The house was looking better already! My dad went into hospital to have his tumour removed. Unfortunately his surgery was more complicated than the doctors had anticipated and a few days later he had sepsis. My sister and I visited him in Intensive Care, he was extremely poorly and we were warned that he might not survive. This was so hard to deal with. My relationship with my dad is tricky. He was not around for my childhood. He reappeared when I was a young adult but it was messy as he was effectively a stranger who had another family. He didn’t push things and it was many years before we had any kind of meaningful contact again but, when faced with the possibility that he might die, I couldn’t bear it. After another surgery to clear the infection, he thankfully pulled through. He lost a lot of weight and was very frail but after three or four weeks in hospital he was allowed to go home. He has remained cancer free so far and is regaining his strength. We still don’t see much of each other but he texts me to tell me that he is thinking of me and I’m okay with that.
Well that is the first six months and I am getting writers cramp so I will do part two tomorrow. It has been fun looking back over the months and remembering the highs and lows. More coming very soon.
Thanks for reading. xx