Oh What A Perfect Day!

Yesterday was my birthday, as I may have already mentioned and I have to say it really was the most perfect day in almost every way.

It began with a walk around the local fields in the morning with my tangly terriers, Toby and Jake. En route to the field we met a lovely lady with her friendly labrador. She was over the moon and still basking the warm glow of her daughter’s wedding this weekend. We were both beaming from ear to ear for our respective reasons, had a quick chat about why that was for each of us, and then went on our own, merry ways.

Once at the field we met a new friend, a dog called Amy, with her owner Emma and stopped to chat for a while about the gorgeous weather (which was especially ordered for my birthday, obviously,) and how lucky we are to live in an area of Hampshire with so many green spaces to walk dogs in.

My good friend and dog walking companion soon arrived and we set off to tire both the hounds and our jaw bones out as we walk around the beautiful, local countryside. We laugh and put the world to rights whilst our terriers frolic with each other and run around in the long grass.

Back home again later, I open all my many birthday cards, text messages, emails and presents, before listening to my birthday ansaphone messages. There is a real corker of a happy birthday message on it, being sung to me as a duet and I am trying to decide if I can capture it on camcorder and attach here for you to listen to, but realize that that action may result in me being disowned by a family member. It fits in so wonderfully with the blog post description that I wrote about yesterday, it is as if they read that post and created me the perfect example. (I asked them, they didn’t.) I don’t think they mentioned their names in the message. I’ll decide whether my wicked sense of humour (which I get from my Dad) and my technology skills will allow me to do this anyway. It is so perfect…..it is probably worth the risk. Tee Hee.

There is a knock at the door and I have a surprise delivery of the most beautiful, hand-tied bouquet of flowers from our wonderful local florists, Moutan. My Mother and Father-in-law have sent them to me. They have excelled themselves this time. Just gorgeous and with my favourite flowers in my favourite autumnal colours too. Bliss. I now have two rooms full of cut flowers, plus birthday cake and champagne to drink later. I have such kind and generous friends. Thank you all.

My friend Debbie arrives and it is time for our trip to the fantastic Four Seasons Hotel in Dogmersfield. We are both wearing dresses and heels, a far cry and a nice change from our normal dog walking clothes. The sun is shining and we walk around the lovely grounds and gardens before settling down to High Tea in the light and airy Library. We are sat next to a beautiful, open sash window and there is a soft, gentle breeze as we sample the delights of their new, autumnal sandwich selection whilst looking out over the extensive grounds. We savour each mouthful and as amateur cooks, we try to distinguish the different ingredients and tastes. We each make our own cakes, jams, preserves and chutneys so we delight in trying to work out the delicious unknown ingredient in the cheese sandwich. Our delightful and attentive server, Candice, informs us that it is made from honey and truffles. That is why it tastes so good and is exceedingly delicious!

After we have finished all the sandwiches, we begin on the scones. These have been served with a choice of three toppings plus a large scoop of clotted cream. Our favourite topping is the most delicious lemon curd that we have ever tasted. (I am afraid it unanimously trumps the local Lemon Curd made by my friend Rachel. who has long been our reigning Lemon Curd winner – sorry Rachel!) Closely followed in second place by the scrumptious blackcurrant preserve. As my Dad would say, “the Chef, he has surpassed himself!”. Or herself, as I forgot to ask which gender they were!

By this stage we have drunk several pots of tea (Cassis for Debbie and Imperial Oolong for me.) and are horrified to discover that we are full. There are still five pastries a piece to eat. We split and share a lovely pumpkin and coffee pastry and then, rather embarrassingly, have to ask for the remainder to be boxed up for us to take away with us. They are far too tempting to leave behind.

On our way out another lovely member of staff, Carole, tours us around the Spa facilities and they look fantastic! We decide then and there to come back another time for a ladies Spa day and I have to say I am looking forward to it already. It is like a hidden oasis in Hampshire. I didn’t realize until now that the Spa was there on our doorstep. Fabulous!

My husband arrives home with more cards and surprise presents for me. (Thanks Honey!) I have to cancel our birthday dinner plans as I am still so full from afternoon tea! The usual routine of people knocking at the door and birthday phone calls begins. We head out later for a quick drink and a couple ask if they can sit down near us. It turns out to be Emma, who I met in the field for the first time that morning and her partner. It is a small world. We have a lovely chat with them both and then head home, tired.

It is now 3am. I have been up since 2am when the nearby puppy barked again. I am a light sleeper. My cough is disturbing Richard so I came downstairs to let him get some sleep. He is up in a few hours for work. I didn’t plan to start writing this early, but is something that I can do quietly whilst he sleeps. I am planning to begin adding some photographs when I get over my disturbed sleep pattern. All this prose will be getting boring without some visuals. I have left my phone upstairs, or I would have uploaded some of the images I took on my birthday here and now. I have a lot of images to post and people keep asking me where all the examples of my work are!

It’s my birthday!

Birthday FlowersGood morning everyone. I would like to say that it is bright and early, but only the latter bit is strictly true. It is before crack ‘o dawn a clock and it is pitch black outside. I was going to take a picture to show you, but it would just be a blank screen of darkness, so what is the point?! I will however commit here and now, to uploading some images to go with my spiel sometime soon. It is going to get boring as all words and no visuals.

Despite being night time, the Indian summer that we are having is so hot & humid that all the windows in the house are open and somewhere in the neighbourhood a dog has just barked, which has woken me up. It is 4am. It is my birthday and that means I can finally open all my cards and presents. They have been arriving all week. I am a bit excited. I don’t know if you can tell.

Birthdays are a Big Deal in my house. When I met my husband I set the clear expectation that birthdays are important. In my wonderful childhood they were. Lots of anticipation and excitement in the build up to the Big Day itself. I have such fabulous memories of childhood birthdays. My Mum would get her clever friend to make me (or my sister) a super deluxe birthday cake. We had trains and caterpillars and dogs and the obligatory number cakes. Once I got a wicker basket (made from cake) with real Quality Street chocolates inside. I remember my sister got a Barbie doll standing tall in a crinoline cake dress, using a real Barbie. (She loved Barbie. I was more of a Sindy fan.)

In my husband’s family Birthdays are no big deal. You get a card if they see you, if you don’t see them, you don’t, although you would get a phone call. (We live far apart.) They haven’t forgotten you, but they see birthdays as just another day. Nothing special. I have now corrupted them with my enthusiasm for birthdays. We always talk on the phone on the actual day. We try to get up or down the country to spend the day together, whenever possible. I always take my birthdays as a day’s holiday. When I am President I shall introduce this rule. I have a lot of supporters already and I am not even running yet!

In my family the cards begin to arrive days in advance. Most of the birthday cards from my family arrived on Thursday last week. They crash through the letterbox with a loud thump, are carefully gathered up and then sit in a pile on the table in the hall way, waiting to be opened. Presents and cards from friends are added to the pile, which slowly keeps growing. The tension mounts. It is all too wonderful for words to explain.

The big day arrives. The present & card opening ceremony takes place in bed, (at my house only, silly, not if we are staying with family, we are not that over familiar!) with my husband and the two tangly terriers and quite possibly a cat or two, if they have deemed my special day worthy enough to return early from their night of prowling around the neighbourhood. Tea and Toast is a given. The non birthday person has the duty of organizing this and serving it to the Birthday person whilst singing the happy birthday song to them.

The phone calls start at the weekend at about 10am, (9am on a weekday) when sufficient time has passed that the family (mine and my husband’s) know that we will be up, “just in case you were having a lie in on your birthday”. As if! You probably won’t get through for a few hours, as I take call after call, each one lasting about 45 minutes and each one beginning with the caller serenading me with their own version of the happy birthday song.

If I am out, tradition dictates that they must sing it into the ansaphone machine in my absence. I always delete these messages afterwards, but they are hysterical. I wish I could play them to you. Simon Cowell would be hitting the big X button within the first few seconds, but I love it. I let them sing their hearts out. It makes me laugh. It is a family tradition now.

Then the Big Day begins properly. We normally go out somewhere special. This year is a little bit different. My husband was due to be abroad on a work trip. This has been recently cancelled but he has a busy day at the office. So instead I am going out with my dog walking friends first thing to exercise the hounds, and have planned to go to the wonderful Four Seasons Hotel, in Dogmersfield for afternoon tea. (Tiny cheese and cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off, delicious cakes served on a cake stand and lashings of hot tea – English breakfast is my favourite, but you can have Earl Grey instead or anything herbal.) Blissful. The rest of the day we shall play by ear. I can’t wait to see what unfolds. I’ll let you know tomorrow!

So much still to learn….

Thank you so much to everyone who has already taken the time to leave me a comment or sent me an email congratulating me on my new blog site. I have been up since 5.30am again. Even the dog sighed at the early hour that I woke him at today when I walked into the room and turned on the light to start working, and he is always very excited to see me – it normally means it is time for a walk! Our other dog is still snoring gently under the blanket, it will take a lot more to wake him up. The sound of the papers being delivered signals to him that it is time to get up and begin his day. Other than that he ignores our early morning starts.

There have been so many lovely comments that it is now 6.55am and I am only just starting my blog post. This isn’t what I was planning to write about, but I have discovered from all your comments, that I need to learn how to do some technical things behind the scenes to get all of this working properly. Oh dear, that 700+ page idiots guide appears to be looming. I wonder if they do a crib sheet for that?! So, in answer to your questions:

1) No, the ‘Comments RSS’ feed tab is not yet working. I’ll try and work out why and correct that.

2) Yes, the Comments field for my first post was (unintentionally) left closed, but I think that I have just taught myself how to fix it, and it should now be working for all future posts. At least I hope so, only time will tell. How on earth did humans cope without using Google to solve their IT issues? That was probably created by a genius who discovered that the idiots guide was over 700+ pages long and would take too long to read through……

3) Thank you for all the lovely comments about my images. As soon as I work out how to add images to my posts, I will be putting more photographs up. I even plan to change some of the header images. If you were a little bit unsure about giving permission to have your images online, but have now changed your mind, let me know and I can remedy that. Well, I can’t actually do that bit yet, but I know a man who can and that is what counts. I’ll figure it out, eventually.

4) Thank you for your feedback on my prose. It feels like I am downloading my brain and that you are getting the confused ravings of a mad woman, but you seem to like it, which is extremely fortunate as it is the best I can do at this ungodly hour. I do apologize for my tendency to digress, I find I do this a lot, even more so as I get older. I get this from my Nan and my Dad, both expert story tellers, but both have the ability to make a short story (or a joke) last an awfully long time. Very entertaining if you have time to spare, but very annoying when you are in a rush.

It was my Nan who taught me the Lambert ladies secret of learning to breathe through your ears, so you don’t need to pause for breath during conversation, and therefore can’t be interrupted, except by another skilled conversationalist. It is a useful trick, especially in a tricky situation or business meeting when you are surrounded by men and need to make your point without shouting. Just keep talking. It confuses them and they can’t keep up with all things that they wanted to say. I think it overloads their brain. [Yes Matthew, I am talking about you!] Not all men, obviously, but just some of them.

Well, the Sunday papers have just arrived, the new paperboy has yet again struggled to get both newspapers and all the magazines through the letterbox in one go. I am hoping that eventually he will realise that it is much easier to do this if you take the magazine sections out and post them through separately. Our last paperboy manged to do this just fine. This in turn has woken Toby (our second dog) up  & his barking has in turn woken my husband, who is gently stirring upstairs. It is time for Tea and Toast in bed with the Papers. That is English breakfast tea for all my American followers, who love to know such details about the English tea drinking habits. [I have to translate English terms for them after the "pants = trousers" fiasco. I was left thinking that someones husband wore the same pants all week long. I mean euwghh.... In fact he was just wearing the same pair of work trousers. Phew, what a relief. My face was a picture, or so I am told. Which is why I will never play poker for money. Why make it easy for them?!]

Actually I think it is Yorkshire Gold Tea that my husband is currently drinking, but English breakfast tea sounds much more quaint and paints a better picture. Plus I am actually having coffee, but that is just me being pedantic. And there you go, I have digressed again. Next time I will try and stick to the photography! I may even post some images.

Enjoy your Sunday. I know I will. Tomorrow is my birthday. I am expecting Big Things to happen and I am virtually trembling like a small child on Christmas Eve with all the excitement in anticipation of it…..

 

 

 

Hello World! I’ve arrived.

This is my first ever blog post. I have been mulling over the tone I want to set as this will potentially set the scene for all my future entries…….should I be serious? Funny? Intellectual? (Should I get a ghost writer?! Nicky & Sarah write such beautiful prose….) I have decided to just be myself and write whatever comes to mind first. I am assured that I can simply press the ‘unpublish’ button later, if I change my mind. (I don’t know for a fact that this will work, you do hear stories that say once information is launched out into the world wide web that it is there forever, but I am a trusting person.

Besides, I am told that the “WordPress for Dummies” book is over 700 pages long (yes really! I mean how long must the experts guide be? Taller than the Eiffel Tower and the same weight as a baby elephant, I presume.)  I don’t have the time to wade through all 700+ pages now. (It is 5.30am and I was out with the girls last night, so I am tired today, well actually I am wide awake but my jaw bone is tired and needs a rest from all that talking and laughing…….) So I will go ahead regardless and just do it. No one will ever read this, they are all too busy on Facebook, trying to work out how to deal with the latest annoying privacy & Ticker tape updates!

So here goes. First things first. I will start by saying “Hello World” as it is the Done Thing on your first blog post. Next I’ll say “Hello Mum!”. Swiftly followed by “Hello to everyone that knows my Mum”, as by now she will be so excited that she will have told everyone she knows about her daughter’s new blog site. (They’ll be sick of hearing about it by Christmas. Maybe even sooner that that.)

Now I’ll say “Hello to everyone that knows me!”, namely (and in no particular order other than the order that I predict they will read this in, – we will have to check the comments page later, to see if I an correct!) Nigel, Harvey, Hazel, Yas, Ellis, Una, Cara, Saorla, Murrough, Caiomhe, Mike, David, Ronk, Rebecca, Carol, Sasha, Lauren, Mark, Shirley, Emily, Lucy, Allison, Jasmin, Max, Clare, Debbie, Anne, Yasmeen, Naz, Nadia, Amara, Beth, Jack, Kerry, Chester, Nicky, the Yummy Mummies of Hampshire, Janet, Roger, Barbara, Dad, Claire, cousin Claire, and Nan. (David, how good does this look on the ipad?! Chester, I am relying on you to point out all my typo’s and grammatical errors – I seem to have lost the ability to be able to quality check my own work!)

Big thanks go to Nigel for setting this site up for me as a surprise. (You are a star! I only asked for your help in order to buy a domain name. Thank you, thank you, thank you!) Extra special thanks go to all of my wonderful models and clients who have given permission for images from their photo shoots to be published here. (Isn’t it exciting to see your photograph on an actual blog site?! Just think how great it will look once I get my proper website set up! You all look gorgeous. Thank you.)

Before you know it I have already filled a page and created my first post. (Note to self: I am really going to need to learn to type using more than just 4 fingers and 2 thumbs.) The dawn has broken, the dogs are stirring and it looks like it is going to be another wonderfully sunny day outside. Who knew how easy this could be?! So there you go. My first post. It may have taken me a while to get started, but Hello World, I’ve arrived.