Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Where the wild things are…

Well, hello there, I’m back! I have so much to tell you I don’t know where to begin. The new haircut? The holiday plans? My meeting up with an old friend? The lovely walks?  No, it has to be my excuse for my absence. After #2 son’s graduation, he came back home with me and we have been hanging out together before he heads off again. It’s been a nice reminder of how life used to be, having a boy with a bottomless pit for a stomach in the house again, it’s been one long round of cooking, food shopping and laundry, movies, music and cooking. And more laundry.

The graduation ceremony was a great thrill for me and the rest of the family. I thought I would explode with pride. My son looked so handsome in his gown (minus cap, you will notice. Apparently, the graduates had been throwing them into the air for photographs after the ceremony and it was thought that was too dangerous – someone had hurt their eye a year or so ago, so political correctness prevailed and they were banned apart from in the official studio portraits – utter madness.)

My two sons and my ex and I, had a great few days in Leeds, it really is a fun city with lots of great shopping  (unless you are shopping with/for two very fussy sons – and I thought women were supposed to be bad!) and restaurants. We had one particularly wonderful dinner at a restaurant called Anthony’s which was a bit ‘Heston Blumenthal’ if you know what I mean! Every dish had at least one ingredient that made you say ‘What?!’ (risotto of white onion, parmesan air and espresso? Or poached quail, pea sorbet, cocoa, morels? Or how about my dessert of apple parfait, pork filo and sage ice cream?) We were all totally amazed at how delicious it all was, in fact we would go so far as to say it was one of the best (if not the best) dinner we had ever eaten.

Since we returned, #2 son has spent his days fishing in the river which runs through our garden – amazingly he actually managed to catch a fish yesterday (which he threw back). I don’t know who was more surprised #2 son, me or the fish! He saw an otter in the river while he was fishing but by the time he had shouted me to come and look, it had gone – probably terrified by the loud shouting coming from the river bank :-)

We did manage to spot a fox in the field next to my garden. Apparently, it has four fox cubs which we haven’t managed to see yet but the mother fox comes out every evening for a walk around the field. We managed to catch some shots of her including this one of the fox eyeing up a crow which seemed quite oblivious.

I love the view into the field, as do some others it seems…

We have had a really fun time since we got back from Leeds. I’m very conscious that these times together are going to be much rarer in the future. My nest will be well and truly empty. On the bright side I will have lots of time to make books and play tennis… (knee is finally better, by the way). I have been working on a photo album which I am making as a gift for a friend whose daughter is about to give birth to a little girl – my friend’s first grandchild. Here is a sneak preview.

By the way, an update on my garden furniture saga. PayPal finally decided in my favour and have refunded me £500 which is the most they can, the balance is still to come from the dodgy seller, (Gemma at Land of Sofas) so I’m not holding my breath. I was contacted by someone else who read about my problems here, she had also bought furniture from this wretched woman but had been too late to file a claim with PayPal, so she stands to lose all her money.

When I was searching for alternative garden furniture, I found a web site selling the same furniture, under a different name (Home Living Online) but I could tell from the telephone number that it was the same people. Please do not buy from this company. I have reported them to the Trading Standards people and I hope that they will stop them from swindling any more unsuspecting customers.

Well, it’s nice to be back blogging and I have missed my visits to my blogging friends – thank you for your concern at my absence, but fret not!  #2 son is off on holiday next week so the house will be quiet again and I can get back into a routine. Books and blogging here I come….

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26 responses to “Where the wild things are…

  1. strugglingwriter July 18, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    This was a lovely post. It’s good to have you back.

    Great pictures. I know that stance of the cat. I’m sure she saw something in that field.

    That book looks really nice. Perfect for a new grandma!

    I’ve been lurking on the site I entered that writing contest (I posted it the other day) and reading the comments. The site probably has 10,000 hits just from me :) The winners are announced Monday and the wait is killing me.

    Finally, we have a new episode of Doctor Who tonight. This one is the first one this season with Rose. I’m excited.

  2. Creechman July 18, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    So this means you are back and restless.

    Good.

  3. Diane July 18, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    SW – It’s good to be back!
    Glad you like the album – I want to personalise it a bit more when the baby is born but I’m very pleased with it so far.
    I read your entry and some of the others and I must say I like yours best! I really hope you win :-)
    Doctor Who is AMAZING and the final two episodes will blow you away they are so good! Plus you will get to meet some of the Torchwood team….:-)

    Creechman – yes, you don’t get rid of me that easily……

  4. 70steen July 18, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    good to have you back.
    How gorgeous is son 2 you must be sooo proud
    Leeds is a great city. I am only 40 minutes awat and visit there quite often

    Glad you go ‘some’ of the money back you paid to the ‘bitch queen’ Gemma… but what an ordeal… I am off to cause a fuss if I can from uoop Norff and report the site :-)

  5. Diane July 18, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    Thank you! I have two very handsome sons – me and the ex must have done something right!

    Leeds is great isn’t it? It’s a shame I’ll probably never have cause to go there again…. :-(

    All I can say is, thank God I paid by Paypal so I could at least get £500 back (although if I had paid by credit card I think I could have got the lot back) Gemma *gritted teeth* told me she had sent me a cheque today (when I called her to ask for my money – again) She said the trading standards people had just phoned her up so hopefully they will sort her out!
    Thanks for looking that up for me – I checked it out but looking at the link, I think that one or other of the parties involved have to be in the US. I’m not sure if we have the same sort of thing in the UK…..

  6. laketrees July 19, 2008 at 1:10 am

    hi Diane …
    great to hear that you had a wonderful time..
    the graduation photos look terrific…I love the colours of the sashes and your son certainly looks very handsome…
    that’s a relief to hear that you got some of your money back….
    we should all put in orders with them but not pay…
    your baby photo book is very pretty and very girly :)
    your photos of the back garden look very woodland..I can imagine someone like Beatrix Potter popping out from behind a tree or something…

  7. Teresa July 19, 2008 at 2:00 am

    I know I’ve said it before, but your son is so handsome (and I know the other is too!). :) And I also know they got their looks from you!

    So glad you and your family had a great time in Leeds and with the graduation.

    You have an incredible back yard…all that wonderful wildlife…

    So when do we get to see the new haircut?

    And this is my semi-regular reminder about setting up your Etsy shop. ;) Perhaps when son is on holiday?

  8. scratchbags July 19, 2008 at 3:58 am

    OMG This was such a wonderful post. I was smiling through out while reading and didn’t want it to end.. Congratulations proud Momma, and also for getting the refund. It must be such a relief! These are some wonderful pictures and your son is quite handsome.:)

  9. Dunn July 19, 2008 at 6:34 am

    Congratulations for your son’s graduation. You must be very proud.
    New hair cut? Looking forward for your picture about it. :-)

  10. Diane July 19, 2008 at 8:48 am

    Thank you all so much for your kind comments!

    Kim – I have been really enjoying the last few weeks with my family – but I will enjoy the peace and quiet too! New garden furniture should arrive soon – just need some decent weather now :-)

    Teresa – I am about to attempt to style it myself for the first time since the cut at the hairdressers. Depending on the outcome of that, I may post a photo….or not :-)

    scratchbags – thanks! Glad you enjoyed it, we aim to please :-D

    Dunn – I am very, very proud (as you might have guessed) As for hair cut – we shall have to see. I might yet have to wear a bag on my head (or a cardboard box like Daddy Papersurfer )

  11. Julie July 19, 2008 at 11:41 am

    Yes big sister i too would like to see new haircut, photo please ! Say congratulations to Ben from me wish I had known would have sent a card or something x

  12. RennyBA July 19, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Good to see you back and knowing you had a great time!

    #2 was great looking – no wonder Mom is proud! and the fish: a trout?

    Looking forward to more travel confessions :lol:

    Have a great weekend!

  13. Jonathan July 19, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Hello again in deepest dorset.

    Congrats to son number 2 – on his recent success.

    Your home setting sounds lovely – I’m sorry you’ve had a busy week – mine has been the opposite with Mandy and the girls visiting parents on Anglesey so I have the dog, 4 cats and myself to take care of – 1 week in.

    I’m keeping a diary over on forums on GSTF’s if you have a mo but that doesn’t sound likely!!

    regards – Jonathan
    http://www.fabulousphotogifts.co.uk

  14. Vanessa (the old friend)! July 19, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    So glad all went well, B looks very handsome. I know I was fit to burst when J graduated last year, the suit, tie, gown etc… Just makes them look soooooo grown up! I was constantly gulping and smiling broadly at the same time, very strange!

    You sound as if you have had some very happy times over the last few days which is lovely!

    I hope the weather improves so that you can enjoy the views from your new garden furniture, whilst having incredibly creative thoughts, with a large glass of wine of course…!

  15. Daddy Papersurfer July 19, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    [Glad you’re back Diane and that you had a lovely time.]

    Dear Fair Maiden

    Now to more important issues – can you please arrange for me to have a river at the bottom of the garden? Reading your post I’ve decided that it is an absolute necessity …….. thanking you in advance.

    Yours sincerely faithfully and adoringly

    Daddy Papersurfer

  16. Lady Banana July 19, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Lovely photos.. what a beautiful place you live, a river in your garden..WOW!

  17. DrowseyMonkey July 19, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    Your son is so handsome :) Congrats to him on his graduation … very exciting.

    I love the fence photo with the bird first, then the cat, lol.

  18. Diane July 20, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Jules – got a bit windswept yesterday, so a pic will have to wait until I look a bit more presentable (and have someone around to take it!)
    Sorry didn’t let you know – you can still send a card! He’s here until Tuesday….

    Renny – thanks! I don’t know what the fish was – #2 son thought it might be a trout too. If it was, it was a baby one and I’m glad he threw it back to continue growing up :-)
    Great to read about your vacatin – have a good weeknd :-)

    Jonathan – hello again! Just been and read your diary. Oh dear, I know how you feel! Doesn’t the house feel empty when they’ve gone? The first few minutes of peace and quiet are bliss but that soon wears off. Your cold ( sorry – man flu!) sounds dreadful – glad it is on the way out. Poor you having to suffer on your own (apart from the dog and the cats) :-)

  19. Diane July 20, 2008 at 9:17 am

    Vanessa – I had a huge lump in my throat most of the ceremony. It sort of struck me that for the first time, it wasn’t just the start of the summer holidays, but the start of the rest of his life (if you see what I mean). I wouldn’t always be able to rely on there being a boy around in the holdays…. gulp!
    The garden furniture will be a double edged sword, if I’m out making the most of it, I won’t be inside making books. That’s one silver lining in the big black cloud that is the weather…if I can’t be outside I stay inside and do useful things, like making books and blogging. Having said that, it is lovely today so I am off out to start my tan off in readiness for my holidays :-)

    Dear DP – firstly, you seem to be mixing me up with your lovely wife, LoTG – she’s the goddess, I’m just a mere mortal. Secondly. isn’t your new house on a cliff top with a sea view? If that is indeed the case, I’m not sure a) the cliff top/river combo would work and b) haven’t you got enough water to look at?
    Yours sincerely faithfully and admiringly
    D

  20. Diane July 20, 2008 at 9:18 am

    PS I’m liking the ‘fair maiden’. Keep it up and I’ll see what I can do…..

  21. Diane July 20, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Lady B – it is pretty but it’s only a small river although it it pretty scary when it rains heavily and it turns into a BIG river…..

    DM – I’m going to ban him from reading this as his head will be quite swollen with all the praise! ( I agree though, he is pretty gorgeous!) I am going to have to post about #1 son next so you can all admire him too :-D

    I love those photos too – that fence post has a big ‘2’ on it and the cats and birds only ever sit on that post. Strange. Perhaps it is a stopping place on some animal world sight seeing tour… :-)

  22. Daddy Papersurfer July 20, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Fair Maiden [so easily pleased]

    I was thinking along the lines of sea one side and babbling brook the other – perhaps with a Fairy Maiden Grotto thrown in for good luck.

    There’s no rush

    Unfalteringly yours

    DP

  23. Diane July 20, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    I’m a little concerned that the babbling brook might undermine the stability of the cliff face and you might end up in the sea rather than by the sea….

  24. Caroline July 31, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    Congratulations Diane – both sons good looking and bright – a mother couldn’t ask for more!

  25. Diane August 1, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Very true!
    I do make good babies (she said modestly!)
    I see that you live near to me – I hope you are enjoying the UK especially our divine weather ;-)
    South Africa must seem very appealing when it is pouring down with summer rain here….

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