Friday, September 30

"au revoir” Phil Thompson

Yesterday was the funeral of a dear friend of ours. I was asked to say a few words...these are the words.

I first encountered Phil with Hilary one day in the record department of WH Smith & Son in 1974. I was doing Christmas relief work in my gap year before going to university. Hilary was my efficient, pristine manageress; nothing flummoxed her that is until Phil would pay her a surprise visit. It was obvious they were made for each other.

Fast forward the clocks 12 years, November 1986. Ironically, similar age to Sherry today, I had returned home from teaching in Nottingham when my own Dad died, to look after mum. Cleveland Centre lifts – I recognised the voice – low and behold Hilary and Phil, man and wife. We had a quick exchange of news updates – they had two daughters, Sherri and Gemma, and lived in Guisborough. Fast forward 10 months – I was starting a new teaching job in Guisborough – walking out on my first day who should greet me but Hilary – both Sherri and Gemma were pupils in the same school! A few brief words again. A couple of months later Jon and I moved to Guisborough from Redcar – and guess who lived over the road? Yes Thompson clan. There followed 3 happy years of good neighbours and friendship – the laughs, the gin and tonic, the laughs, the meals, the laughs, the new year’s eves the laughs – yes it was a good 3 years.

We moved but kept in touch briefly just catching up on news now and again, but the friendships forged would always be there.

I was honoured to know Phil as a doting boyfriend – to Hilary that is, a loyal husband, a proud father and a good friend.

It is my firm belief, from personal experience and which I hope is the same for Hilary, Sherri and Gemma that when somebody we truly love dies, they do not simply “go away” they do not leave us, they stay with us – in the very marrow of our bones. The joys we shared we will remember, and smile. The words they shared will be written in our hearts. That is how it is for me. My Dad’s words and aspirations stay with me to this day and are now part of my character, I am proud of this, and Hilary, Sherri and Gemma can be proud too.

In life we come across people who leave a mark on us and whose words come back time and again. Phil has been one of those people to me – let me tell you some of the things I always remember –

From Jon Hancock, one of my first head teachers – he taught me how to stand on a chair correctly – to this day I do this – with the back of the chair in front not behind. I don’t remember anything about him telling me advice about teaching, but I do remember the correct way to stand on a chair.

From my mother – I learned that mules are dangerous slippers and you could easily break your neck when wearing them. I have never bought or owned a pair of mules in my life.

From Christine Duck, a school clerk who I worked with for some years I learned that you should always use matching coloured clothes pegs when hanging out the washing – “What would the neighbours think if I did otherwise!” I must admit I don’t use matching pegs, but I think of Christine every time I peg out the washing.

From Phil Jon learned that it was bad luck to re-name a ship – he pointed out this to me a couplke of weeks ago just about we were to board the ferry which incidentally had been renamed!

From Phil I learned that the essence of a good Bolognese sauce was a few dollops of tomato ketchup! Even to this day I think of Phil every time I make a Bolognese sauce and yes I always add tomato ketchup! Next time you make a sauce – think of Phil, you will be surprised how often he will pop up in your thoughts – which are what we want – for us to constantly think of him and the impact he had on each of our lives.

Now we must say "au revoir” – yes French but expecting and knowing to see Phil again.

One of the greatest Naval leaders was Churchill and it is one his quotations I leave you with

"I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter."

Yes Phil – let’s see.

Monday, September 26

Kitchen Update!

Jon is very busy with his business right now, but he did take the time on Sunday afternoon to fit the new lights. He had to do a lot of work under the floorboards of the bedroom but it was all worth it.

The photographs are not accurate but will give a good idea of what it is looking like. The ceiling is white, not pink. The walls are Pale Hound, same as the snug.
The sink unit is being delivered on Thursday together with some doors and a corner unit, so we are very much nearly there.
We still have no taps - that will happen later this week but every day, in every way things get better and better.
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Thursday, September 22

Angela has started a new theme each Thursday - I am going to join in. Basically people interested share any ideas or thoughts on thrifty solutions.
My contribution is frregle - or freecycle as it was.
Basically find a freegle group near you and see the daily e-mails from people seeking items as well as giving away items.

Click here for details

I notice today somebody is looking for a ladies wig as well as a pigeon loft!
My mind has been boggling all morning! lol!

Click on the link in my sidebar to see other frugal thinking people.

Tuesday, September 20

J is for Jon

Whilst the kitchen looks pretty much the same Jon has been doing lots of intricate work behind the scenes. The plumbing is now in place for the new sink which is being delivered next week. The electrics are sorted and a lot of repairs to pipes have been done too. This has taken Jon a few days to do, round the running of his business. Jon has plumbed in our original sink as a temporary measure .

I have a sink but no taps or running water - I have to use the outside tap for water but it is just outside the kitchen door. The dishwasher too is plumbed in. This is sufficient for what we need and keeps me focussed on how much better things will be once the kitchen is finished. Every day things get better and better! Tomorrow.........the kitchen is being painted! Can't wait!
Watch this space!

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Friday, September 16

A sneak preview!

Our good friends Keith and Dorothy, who we spent 3 fantastic days with in France read my blog ("Helloooooooo Keith & Dozza!") and are coming over in a month's time - when they do, the kitchen will be finished - so this is the only preview I will show - as i want them to have a surprise.
We are both thrilled with the progress - thanks to good friends Spud and Tony who are fitting the kitchen. Jon is very busy with work so can't do a great deal - having reliable capable friends is a god send. The plasterer and builder are good friends too - again so reliable and efficient this has all helped everything so smoothly. Yes we have a delay but that was doen to Homebase - basically the sink arrives on 29th September with a corner unit.
I can live with this - I don't have a sink right now, but this is something Jon can sort out - when he isn't busy. We have an outside tap just by the kitchen door which I am using - and the dishwasher is still here.
Deciding on colours.......Farrow & ball's 'Dead Salmon' hmmmmmmmmm????

Watch this space!

Tuesday, September 13

I is for Incidental timings!

So - there we were on the ferry! Now I don't mind the ferry crossing because I put myself into a place of gay abandonment - after a nice meal, a bottle of wine I settled down for the night.......
Now dear Jon KNOWS I am a light sleeper and after 23 years of marriage knows it is unwise to wake me when the cabin light came on I awoke immediately.
Jon, eyes like saucers was informing me the ferry was turning round - infact it had been for a while and he was convinced we were moving in a circle!
The captain made an announcement "Ladies and Gentlemen we are making a detour as a female passenger has left the ship and is in the water!"
Jon went outside to see what was going on and witnessed the rescue.

See the amazing footage from the RAF here.

Amazingly the girl survived!

The holiday was fantastic and I will share our adventure later as we only returned yesterday and the kitchen is back on.
Whilst we were in France we were aware that a hurricane was due for the |North East Coast the day we were returning on the ferry! Needless to say I managed to get myself in a state - a quiet state, just keeping my worries to myself. I must admit when Jon pointed out he had noticed the ship's name had been re-painted, this being bad luck did not really help. Then he pointed out the lower the deck the better or smoother a crossing would be - so to be on deck 1 or 2 was best....we were on deck 9!!! Prone to a bouncy crossing!!
My fears were in vain - the crossing was very smooth.
We left the ferry around 10am Monday and then came the motorbike ride home - in the wind!
I can honestly say it was one of the most frightening moments in my life! I could feel the bike being buffeted by the wind, and held on for dear life.
When we finally pulled up outside the front gates I felt a pope moment coming on - all I wanted to do was kiss the ground!
Home safe and sound!

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Sunday, September 4

H is for Holiday!

I am just about to pack our bags, ready for our adventure to France, to stay with our good friends Keith and Dorothy. It is an adventure too as we never know where we will be staying on route to Limouge. We will go up to Newcastle tomorrow and take the overnight crossing to Ijmuiden, near Amsterdam arriving after breakfast on Tuesday. We will drive through Holland, Belguim and as far down France we can fit in before finding a hotel for the night and on Wednesday travel on to Dorthy and Keith's. We will spend 3 nights with them before making the return journey, stopping somewhere between their France and Holland before making our way back on the ferry next Sunday evening, arriving home Monday morning.
As ever I have my trusted lists printed out and will pack accordingly. Jon has his job list too - a good team effort I say!
Camera is on the list so lots of photos to entertain with on our return!
Watch this space!

Friday, September 2

Latest on the Kitchen!

Remember this?


It now looks like this.

Remember this?

It now looks like this



Is now looking like this!

Yes, the plasterer has worked his magic and now the walls are drying out. The appliances I have are limited and we do not have a sink. We do have the dishwasher, a fridge and freezer....but the fridge and freezer are destined for new homes soon.
There is little more we can do - so I guess there is only one thing to do and that is to now focuss on our holiday to France. When we return we will pick up the DIY gauntlet once again and move evermore forwards in our quest!
Watch this space!