Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Some things never change

When I was first married, we lived in Cardiff and our best friends were a couple, Richard and Glynis, who have remained our friends for over thirty years. I am godmother to their daughter (hence the wedding reading – she is getting married in October) and Richard is the godfather to my #1 son. In 1983, my husband, our 4 month old son and I, went to live in Kuwait for three years and during this time, we kept in touch with our friends back in the UK, sending birthday cards etc. One year, on my birthday in early November, I received the following card from them.


Inside, it said ‘I’ve looked absolutely everywhere for a used birthday card that has flowers on the outside and money on the inside. Maybe next year. OK?

I sent it back to Glynis whose birthday is at the end of November, with the message ‘Found the card but still no money’ and thus a tradition was born. The card came back for Gavin’s birthday in April and we sent it back for Richard’s in May and so it has gone on for 26 years, sometimes getting lost, but always turning up again. We lost Gavin and Glynis from the rotation when both couples split up and so Richard and I continue to send the card back and forth. It has had extra sheets attached but remains intact and has just winged it’s way back to Cardiff for Richard’s birthday. Long may it continue!


My #2 son arrived back from his travels safely last week. He arrived in Dorset on Thursday accompanied by his girlfriend. It was so wonderful to see him in one piece I can’t tell you! One of his travelling companions caught dengue fever while in Kuala Lumpur. Luckily, she has recovered but it was very worrying. He was thinner but otherwise healthy and he arrived bearing gifts – a gorgeous leather handbag. I am so thrilled with it that I shan’t object if he wants to go travelling again. As my friend Claire said the other day ‘I think I might have had more children if I’d realized they could one day provide so generously for me’. Quite. We went to my favourite restaurant in these here parts (in fact it’s my favourite restaurant in any parts) The Riverside at West Bay and he insisted on paying for lunch for us all. Love it.

On Saturday, I was invited to go and see an outdoor production of ‘The Barber of Seville’ in Abbotsbury. The plan was to meet up with friends, have a picnic then watch the opera. We managed the picnic but as we sat watching the opera, the heavens opened and we were all good and soaked. It was the first rain we have had for weeks and I felt so sorry for the singer playing Rosina because she was wearing a very flimsy costume and must have been frozen to death, the wind was really cold. They carried on gamely and even incorporated the man who came on at intervals to mop the rain off the stage, into the action. I must confess that during the interval, we took shelter, broke out the picnic again and listened from afar.


I’m amazed that you can’t see the driving rain in this photograph but you can tell by the number of umbrellas belonging to the hardy souls who sat it out, just how wet it was.

The book

The book

Today, I have had news from Jemima. You might remember the wonderful illustrations she did for the book ‘Roverandom’ by J.R.R.Tolkien, (which I helped her bind for her university final project). She has just had a meeting with the Publishing Director of Harper Collins who publish all Tolkien’s work. He loves her illustrations and wants to re-publish Roverandom using her illustrations! She has left the book with them and they are going to show it to Christopher Tolkien who is J.R.R’s son, as they have to have his permission to use them in the book. Even if he doesn’t approve, they want to use her illustrations in future projects. Brilliant news, Jemima!

I’m off again next Sunday. I fly to Corfu for 10 days of sailing with my lovely sister and her husband. The day after I return, it is Glastonbury so I will be there for a weekend of Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Crosby Stills and Nash, Blur, Madness, Status Quo, Lily Allen, Spinal Tap……. (see full line up here)

I love my life.

23 responses to “Some things never change

  1. Teresa June 8, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Boy, you do have a good life, don’t you? :)

    I love the card tradition. Might start one with my sister (although I’d rather she moved in with us).

    Your son was very thoughtful to have brought home a gift you love. Hey, where’s a photo??

    Bummer you were rained on for the play…I hope the actors didn’t get sick from being so cold!

    And a big congrats to Jemima! What exciting news!

    • Diane June 9, 2009 at 8:26 am

      I do – and I appreciate it hugely, I know I am a very lucky girl :-)
      It was thoughtful of him wasn’t it? The bag is lovely, soft brown leather, perfect size – in fact, just what I would have chosen for my self – clever boy!
      It is exciting news about Jemima – her final project hasn’t been marked yet but getting that news must guarantee her top marks I would think!

  2. 70steen June 8, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    I just love that card of 26 years how absolutely barking mad …[just wish I had thought of that. ;) ]

    Jemima is very talented and I am soooo pleased it has been recognised and by Harper Collins no less … she must be so excited .. WTG Jemima :-)

    [I met a lady at the weekend who worked at Guys and Dolls in Manchester..Ishe is in her early 50s I didn’t get a chance to ask her her surname back then .. I will ask her husband tomorrow … she is so lovely and is called Mary!]

    • Diane June 9, 2009 at 8:28 am

      Ooh! How exciting! The only Mary I can think of is Mary Healy, she had the shiniest hair I have ever seen – very long-almost to her waist! I wonder if it is her?

      • 70steen June 10, 2009 at 8:17 pm

        This Mary is blonde but whether it is her natural colour I don’t know.. I will ask her husband tomorrow when I am back in the office.. forgot I was out and about the last couple of days……..

      • 70steen June 10, 2009 at 8:18 pm

        oh and have a really lovely trip you jet setter you :-)

  3. strugglingwriter June 9, 2009 at 1:05 am

    That tradition with the card is one of the coolest things I have ever heard of. That’ is really great. Wish I would’ve thought of that.

    Great news about the Tolkien book!

    Have fun in your travels! You certainly do not lead a dull life!

    • Diane June 9, 2009 at 8:30 am

      It probably would never have started had the card not been about second hand cards but it has been a fun thing to keep going. It got lost for a while but always turns up again!
      Thank you! I will do my best and as always I will take lots of photographs!

  4. Daddy Papersurfer June 9, 2009 at 6:54 am

    I love your life too ……. I’ve always wanted a decent handbag for a start.

    The story about the card shuffling back and forth over the years is lovely and is a wonderful illustration of real friendship ….. having said that, I still haven’t forgiven you for having a lovely sister who’s sailing and swanning around Corfu and whose invitations are restricted to family members only – tsk tsk and double tsk!!!!

    [Have a lovely time, don’t get sunburnt and bring me back a pressy – thanks]

  5. Diane June 9, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Next time son goes travelling he can bring you one back – he has impeccable taste!
    I have three sisters, I always knew they would come in handy one day. One of the others lives in Australia, she might be due a visit at some point…..
    I’ll do my best. Any requests? Ouzo? Retsina? *pulls face* Yuk.
    It’s not all fun and games though. Just remembered about the ‘no loo paper down the toilet’ thing that goes on in Greece. Horrid :-(

  6. Dekoracje Okien June 9, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Haha that’s awesome! You could pass the tradition on to your children and so on. And in 100 years, when someone loses it by accident it’ll pretty big deal ;)

  7. Diane June 9, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    It’s a pretty big deal when it goes missing NOW! Every year I say I will put it somewhere safe and then have a last minute panic trying to find it. You would think after all this time I would have sorted a safe place to keep it :-)

  8. Gry Dla Dzieci June 10, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    This recurring birthday card is one of the best ideas I’ve heard in a while. This really makes greeting cards a personal matter once again – lately most have some generic wishes inside already, and all that’s added by my lazy friends is a signature ….. how creative is that ?
    With a card that goes back for years, it really becomes more intimate.
    Great idea!

  9. Diane June 10, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    I agree about shop bought cards. I always try to buy nice ones if I don’t have time to make one and I try to write a proper message inside too.
    I always like receiving cards though – shows a bit more effort than an email or a Facebook message – although I am sometimes guilty of that short cut myself at times :-(

  10. laketrees June 10, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    ohhh you’re going to see Neil Young live …how wonderful !!…sounds like you are leading the jetsetter life Diane …good for you :)

    • Diane June 11, 2009 at 5:31 pm

      I have been trying to see Neil Young for about 30 years! I am hoping that as Crosby, Stills and Nash are at Glastonbury too, they might get together….fingers crossed!

  11. Gerri Ward June 11, 2009 at 12:15 am

    You really do have a Wonderful Life, one that many people like myself dream of having ! Your blog is not only touching it’s unbelievably captivating – I luv it !

  12. Diane June 11, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Gerri, thank you very much! Glad you have enjoyed reading it!
    As a fellow shoe fiend, I loved looking at the shoes on your blog. Maybe if I stayed home more, I could buy more shoes…..hmmmmm, now there’s a thought :-)

  13. toothfairynotes June 16, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    I like the fact that you’re traveling a lot! You must enjoy life very much… I live in the Netherlands, that quite nearby where you live I guess. Have you every been to Amsterdam? Maybe you should visit here as well!

    I like this blog, you’re a good writer!


  14. Dana June 18, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Hello…Because I like your work and your lovely blog, you’ve been AWARDED !!!

  15. RennyBA June 24, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    .. and I love reading your happy post – thanks for these great updates!

    Sorry I have not been around for a while, but was reminded of that yours are one of my fave blog at Facebook.

    Now I’ve subscribed to your blog at Google Reader, so you’ll see me back again :-)

  16. fracas July 8, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    The card thing… what an awesome thing to do. I love how 70steen described it! Honestly, just reading about it made me smile. To see the extra pages added… even more perfect!

    You do have a lovely life Diane. Any time I stop here, there’s always something to prove it!

  17. Sarah July 26, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    ooh, Lily Allen :D

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