My Silent Partner

I’ve been deliberating over this post for over a week now. I want to write about my husband, the daddy, but I’m finding it really difficult. I thought it would be “nice” to involve him, tell a little of his story, our story make him feel involved in this blogging caper. For some reason it’s the hardest thing I’ve had to write, I don’t really know what to say. This in its self has stirred worrying feelings, so much to say about me, the kids, the food we eat, the places we go, but the husband, nada. I know that I want to present him well, so you can all marvel at my great choice in life partner, but as we seem to sway between love and hate 2 to 3 times a day, I’m not always in the love zone when I’ve got time to write. So I’ve decided to start with a story, as it’s slightly amusing and then we can see where we end up.

In my youth, say 14, 15 years old I liked to buy bits of clothing from menswear shops. I was defining my style with the odd baggy men’s t-shirt or jumper. Imagine my delight when on one Saturday, as browsing stripy T’s and chunky knitwear in my local Next, the boy I really fancied wondered in. My heart pounded and I felt a little sick as I tried to hide my pinking cheeks, desperate to purvey an air of indifference. It didn’t last long, the sight of his floppy blond curls and roguish slink had me hurrying for the door afraid that my secret was screaming from my every pore.

At school some weeks later a friends of a friend asked the boy if he “liked me”, as I queued for my Friday lasagne and cheesecake, I was aware of the examination I was under. His reply was “I’m not going out with her, she looks like a boy”. I was mortified; I had recently been persuaded to have my hair cut by a Vidal Sassoon trainee and was therefore sporting what was an extremely trendy but very short haircut. My mum had cried when she saw it, that short. Still, how rude. That boy is now my husband.

Meet Mr H, the adult man in my life. I was going to say grown up, but I’m not sure if that description fully fits. The boyish charm which I fell for all those years ago is still very much in evidence and receiving mixed reviews. The same things that drew me in are the things that anchor me to our relationship today. Firstly this man is funny, really, funny, witty, sharp and clever with it. Although in recent years he has lost his comedy mojo a bit, our tough times made tougher without his ability to see the humour in our misfortunes, comedy confidence is now being restored. His ability to make me smile is never ending and I love that he has brought to me the ability to laugh at myself. He’s devilishly handsome in my eyes, despite the midlife paunch and the odd wrinkle, he still rocks my world.

But this isn’t it really, not attributes that glue you together through the test of time. That bond is intangible almost wordless, which is why I’ve struggled to write about it. Although since high school we have not always been together I can honestly say my heart has never belonged elsewhere. This sometimes makes things tricky when my blood boils with disdain towards him, however I feel intrinsically joined to him and him to me. I can’t imagine life without him or beyond him although there have been painful times when I’ve wonder what that could be like. We’ve been through a lot of adversity together and through it all we emerge with a continued desire to share life with one another, in fact I look forward to it. I really do hate, ok bitterly dislike him on a regular bases but, coming from a family where no real anger was shown I actually think this is healthy. We always make up and we always apologise, well he does, I sulk a little then say my bit.

To understand why I love him is complex but to describe the person, simple. He’s funny, boyish, generous, forgiving, quick tempered, loyal, infuriating, childish, foul mouthed, friendly, warm, irritating, and a fighter who’s determined to do what’s right. He also has slightly smelly feet and trumps a lot. He makes a good roast diner; he enjoys a bar of chocolate and an ice cold lager but not together. He can make his children howl with laughter and infuriate them to high heaven and he also does the same to me. He’s clever in a business and general knowledge way. He’s not very good at DIY. He likes his Balearic sounds and is still good friends with his club land pals as well as his school mates. He loves to wind people up and make people laugh. His hugs are meaningful and feel like a place you’d like to stay. He adores his family. Enough I think but just as a disclaimer these are all my very own opinions.

There you have it, not bad for “nada”. So if I never write about him again at least you now know he’s somewhere in the background doing his bit, I will no longer feel a slight guilt for not mentioning him much and he will probably just feel very relieved.

A Favourite Place

This weekend we had a  much needed very good Sunday, we’ve had a couple of stinkers recently. We went out to one of our favourite family places, Chatsworth House. We are lucky enough to live within a shortish drive to this glorious estate. My husband and I fell in love with the place before the children came to us but during our plans to adopt we would imagine bringing them to this magical place. We’ve since had many a happy day out here  and a Christmas visit has become part of our seasonal traditions.

The gardens are stunning with something for everyone. Today we had a visit to the Maze, the Rockery, the Cascade water feature,the Grotto pond and played frisbee on the manicured expanse of lawn. Not even half of the delights of the garden were covered. For me on an adult only visit I like to amble amongst the vegetable and flower growing gardens,marveling at the size of the cabbages and the array of dahlias.

The bonus for todays visit and a complete surprise, was the start of the much celebrated Beyond Limits sculpture exhibition in the gardens. This year all the sculptures are by one artist, Barry Flanagan, RA OBE (1941-2009), his bronze hares and  the occasional elephant are posted throughout these beguiling gardens. Turn a corner and out they leap capturing the imagination of young and old, making art accessible to all and enjoyed by the masses.

After an ice cream we headed over to the farmyard and adventure playground. We always pay a quick visit to the guinea pig pen as this is where the children would excitedly head to at handling time before we had our own. Then along to the sty to see  if there were any piglets in the pig pens, two litters of varying size all suckling away.We found a new baby donkey in the farm shed all fluffy and cute looking but no chicks in the poultry house unfortunately.

Then the children head up the secret tunnel to the adventure playground and this is a monster of a playground. Having recently added even more items to this already very impressive play area, there is hours and hours of fun here for the children. There are plenty of picnic tables and benches for the the adults and a coffee and ice cream stall. The sand and water play area where water can be collected from the stream and channeled into some of the sand play area, has always been a particular favourite of my two. At one point  I would bring a spare set of clothing for this part of the day, now to I hope that their more senior years will create more caution, wishful thinking. This therefore always brings us to the end point of our day, and the kids with soggy bottoms and sand filled shoes,  wonder when we can return, before we’ve even reached the gate.

For us returning and partaking in any part of the Chatsworth experience, large or small is simple as we have a “friendship card” having paid an annual sum we have access to the house garden and farmyard and play area free of charge. The current on-line price for a family ticket (2adults & 3children) with a current special  offer of a half price return visit within six months is £45. It’s worth bringing food if you come all day as food onsite although delicious, is a little pricey.

So there you have it a favourite place for us and highly recommended to you all and I’ve literally only touched the tip of the iceberg which is the glorious Chatsworth Estate. To find out more click here.

And Here is the News…..


Here’s where we keep our news, pinned for us to find at a later date, or not as is often the case. It really requires a good sort as I’m currently pinning new term letters over last years instructions for school trips, school dinners and when to put the bins out…Maybe tomorrow.

Nature’s Ways


This year whilst enduring “the worst holiday ever,” I know I sound like a hormonal teenager when I say it like that but “I don’t care”, Tink befriended two gorgeous donkeys. Again he struggled with the other children on the caravan site, the playground was his battlefield. After having to visit one mum to apologise for some very colourful language he’d directed at her small daughter, I kept a close eye on things. To be fair he knew the playground wasn’t a good place for him and chose instead to visit the donkeys. There he stroked them and fed them hay, happily chatting to them and me about them. We even had to buy them carrots at Tinks insistence. These were happy holiday moments for him and me, seeing calm and ease restored, shoulders lowered, smiles in place, for both of us. He definitely loves animals and the way they make him feel, he allows them to touch his heart in a way most humans are forbidden to do. Maybe it’s the lack of complexitiy in the relationship or that they just can’t answer back, or maybe it’s just because they’re cute. Either way I like it.

Read more about Tink and his attachment to animals here.

A Space for A Small Boy


Whilst camping last year we discovered that Tink loves to fly a kite.He really did fly his kite for hours, happily staring up at the colourful shape bobbing, twisting and twirling in the air. The campsite was fully of strangers (other campers)  who he obviously found challenging to deal with especially the ones his own size, making him frustrated and angry. This sky blue space he discovered would deliver him to calm. When a child deals with as many anxieties and stresses as Tink does it’s great to discover a space that brings them inner peace.