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A great week...and week-end too!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Well, it's the end of the first week of my new healthy eating and exercise regime to lose weight and I'm absolutely thrilled to bits...I lost four pounds! YAY!!!

I can't say it's been easy, the first couple of days were quite trying, I really had to keep watch on all my movements as I was reaching for things when I shouldn't have been (my hand had a mind of it's my own mind was stronger!) though after a few weeks of total non committment I suppose that was inevitable but now I've got myself back into my routine again I'm feeling very positive and motivated to keep going.

My pretty notebook is a joy to open with it's feint images of snowdrops on every page and is filling up nicely with my eating programme, exercise programme and meal plans...I also have a quote of the day.
The little gold stars and cartoon bee stickers look great adorning the pages and the wall calendar and I've made a start on the wall chart for my losses graph which I hope to get finished and add my four pounds to this afternoon.

So, on a completely different note, our weather has been atrocious for weeks and yesterday it stopped raining. It was still cold and windy so DH decided we'd visit a garden centre or two.

We set off with different ideas of requirements in our heads but I really only wanted to look, DH wanted to buy...veggies mainly and compost for his potato sacks.

We visted a large commercial run garden centre on the outskirts of a nearby town first.
It was lovely walking in to the warm, humid greenhouses after the stingingly cold air of the car park.
DH headed straight for the veg section and was happily rooting through tomato, cucumber, marrow and courgette plants which spurred me into buying I realised I wanted tumbling tomatoes for my hanging baskets.
DH grows the big ones you need to cane up but I like mine small and sweet tumbling from hanging baskets so I can eat them when I'm gardening...not many of mine make it into the're so delicious warm from the sun just picked from the vine and rubbed on my t shirt...oooh, I wish they were ready now!

I also chose a few bedding plants for my patio tubs as I lost some of what I'd grown from seed in a cold snap when the greenhouse door was mistakenly left open, mainly trailing lobelia and a few marigolds.
DH bought three different kinds of tomatoes, cabbage and cauliflower. I wanted him to try a new variety of black cabbage but couldn't persuade him.

As he was paying I wandered off with my camera.
I was astounded at the range of colourful equipment there is these days, you can get tools, even wheelbarrows, in pinks, purple and turquoise and the range of pots and containers are very diverse shapes and colourful too.
There were loads of garden ornaments, I especially liked the stone owls, the blurb said they were hand carved by craftsmen before being polished and are made from natural granite cobbles!

Next we drove on to another nearby smaller family run garden centre which I like to visit as it usually has what I call a 'poorly' plant section which I love.
You can buy a full grown plant for as little as twenty five pence ( a quarter in your money) and I love making them better!

What a surprise though, they'd extended, rebuilt and modernised and it was now as large as the big one we'd just left...they still had a 'poorly' section though!

DH bought bags of compost and I emerged with two 'poorly' plants which cost me the grand total of only fifty pence.
I bought a very dejected looking Mimosa Puddica or Sensative plant and a brown budded and broken leaved Kalanchoe succulent or Flaming Katie which should be a nice shade of baby pink.
I'd bought a 'poorly' orange one three weeks ago which is thriving now and absolutely covered in blooms. I hope to restore this pink one the same.

I took a couple of pictures of them this morning after they'd been primped, dead headed and had old foliage removed and their pots submerged and left to soak in water for a couple of hours.
You can see from the pictures the Sensative plant is already perky and green, it now closes it's leaves when you touch them which it didn't do yesterday and the pink Flaming Katie is flowering well. The buds are a beigey brown colour before the flowers open which is why people pass them by as they think they're dying.

We spent yesterday evening in the garden...plenty of exercise!
DH planted out his veggies in serried ranks across the bare brown earth, labels hung on little bits of stick at both ends of each row, kneeling on a wooden board so's not to flatten the earth he'd just dug and kept company by our friendly little robin looking for worms and other titbits.
Then he planted up his tomatoes into large terracotta tubs ready to bring outside when the weather gets better, if it doesn't they'll stay in the greenhouse, while I potted on my lobelias and marigolds into next size pots as it's still too cold to plant them outside yet. They'll be hardened off over the next couple of weeks, put outside during the day and taken back in each night until the weather warms up.

Then this morning I've planted up four hanging baskets with with my 'Tumbling Tom' tomatoes, two red varieties in willow woven baskets and two yellow ones in the modern green metal ones.
I wanted black tomatoes too but they hadn't got any so I'll look on the market stalls when I go to town on Saturday.
I've hung the baskets up in the greenhouse for now but when it's warmer two will hang from the central support on the rose arch and two from brackets near the kitchen window.

A few pictures for you:

Colourful metal watering cans

entering one of the big, warm greenhouses

snazzy bright pots

Easter Island head planter

terracotta cat planters...they look surprised at the hole in their middles!

stone owls

veggies galore

even more veggies

perked up Sensative plant

primped Flaming Katie

watered Flaming Katie

rewarded with masses of blooms

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

XME501 5/26/2012 12:01PM

    Love your pictures! And what an adventure - we do not have very much here in Pendleton. Mostly just WalMart and BiMart and their selections are rather skimpy! Love the colorful watering pots and all the planters. My neighbor has a swan with gardenias. I just have those plastic green pots.
Now, I think I must get some thing a bit more decorative!!

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KAT573 5/21/2012 7:35PM

    OH What a wonderful, wonderful blog full of appreciation for all that is around you and such great pictures that magnify that sense in the writings! THANK you for sharing your wonderful writing and photography with us and the spirit of YOU that shines through it all. emoticon emoticon

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CELLOPLAYER1 5/21/2012 6:32PM

    Great pictures. We are going to go spend some time in the yard tonight. We added a new porch on our house last year and now we are going to put some flowers at the south end since it is a hill and hard to mow.


Comment edited on: 5/21/2012 6:32:59 PM

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ECONLADY 5/21/2012 5:33PM

    Great pictures!

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DOLLBABE56 5/21/2012 3:28PM

    I love the pictures. I especially love the Flaming Katie - I don't remember seeing these here in Northern Alabama, USA Very pretty.

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AUTUMNBRZ 5/21/2012 8:55AM


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enough is enough!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Today I've decided enough is enough!

Today is the day I change things!

Today is the first day of the rest of my life!

Today I pledge that I WILL lose all the excess weight my body doesn't require!

Today I begin the journey...the journey which WILL transform me!
It will be a long hard journey but I CAN DO IT!!

I've been thinking about my life over the past week or so, re-reading some of my past blogs and finding motivation from other Sparker's blogs too.
I know from past experience you have to be in the right frame of mind to lose weight and up until today I just wasn't.
I've been on and off my programme (I'm NOT on a diet, I'm on a healthy eating programme!) partly through ill health and medication, partly through lack of willpower and partly just me being not bothered.
Over the last few years I've lost ninety pounds, all in fits and starts, but due mostly to the factors above I am currently at a weight loss of twenty four pounds.
I knew I'd been steadily putting weight on again but it was a bit of a shock to discover how much. At first I was cross with myself as even when I'm not on the programme properly I still eat healthily, maybe just too much, but then I thought 'what's the point, it won't take away what I've regained' today I begin the journey back to health and fitness.

I want to feel fitter.
I want to eat better.
I want to look better.
I want to be able to go into clothes stores in the 'normal' size section, not the 'outsize' one.
I want to extend my life expectancy.
I want to be rid of these little niggly aches and pains I get.
I want to be slim!!

Yesterday I read an article by a well known tv personality we have over here, she's lost over seven stones by having a gastric band fitted. She looks wonderful but her remarks made me think about what other people think when they see us. She said after she'd lost weight a 'friend' said she didn't look ugly anymore, it had upset her at first but then she went on to say she'd never thought of herself as ugly though now she could see she had been.
Fat and ugly were the actual words she used and she justified it by saying she used to be a 'fat bird' so she was entitled to say that now. I'd sort of admired her up until that point, she might have been fat but she certainly wasn't ugly.

It reminded me of an experience I had last year when a nasty woman made derogatory remarks about me across the street, a woman I'd never seen before who upset me a lot.
My upset eventually turned to anger so I turned her into a new weightloss tool, using the experience to spur me on when I felt like straying from my programme.
I re-read that blog again this morning and all the old feelings came flooding back with a vengeance giving me a new tool again and the incentive to prove her wrong even though I'll probably never ever set eyes on her again...I wouldn't want to anyway, I'd probably be unable to restrain myself from decking her one and get

My health problems have, at times, been major and a couple I'll have for the rest of my life but after two hospital visits this last week I'm off most of my medication, I've been given the green light, I don't have to go to hospital check-ups any more and I know my major problems are finally behind me.
I feel well, I look well and even though I may get the odd ill health flare-ups now and again I've learnt from the experience and I know I can cope with them so I've no more excuses left...JUST GET ON WITH IT GIRL!

Over the week-end, after filching the idea from a good Spark friend, I've made myself a visual calendar, chosen reward stickers and gold stars and bought a large pretty notebook which I'm going to use to record my daily progress, food plan and exercise regime.
I'm also going to make a large wall graph too showing my weekly progress.
I'm going to make it like one of those charts you see in company offices where the line keeps going upwards (hopefully there'll be very few gains to create the mountain peak look!).
I'm going to use Spark properly too not just as a tool to chat to my friends which is what it's become just lately but to take advantage of the wonderful place it is.
Spark is brilliant full of good advice, great ideas and great friendship.
Everyone is aiming for a similar goal and I for one am going to use it to my advantage.

I feel ready.
I feel motivated.
I'm off on a bye for now!
I'll be logging in daily, weighing in weekly, reading ALL the articles, trying new recipes, exercising and (definitely) losing some weight!!

My visual aids

Fridge magnet to remind me not to pick!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAROLYN0107 5/19/2012 12:47PM

    emoticon in getting your motivation back. I'm going to try exercising this week, from my wheelchair. Only ten days before my total knee replacement to "fix" the damage done when I broke my knee/leg and wrist on March 5th.


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LILSUNFLOWER 5/17/2012 3:14PM

Go for it girl. Good for you. No one can do it but you. You've chosen a method, now go at it.
Remember, it's a long-time goal and not a quick fix. Those never work.
It's one day at a time.
Be kind to yourself on your journey!
You'll get a lot of support from your friends.

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XME501 5/17/2012 11:18AM

    Good for you, Martha. I have been going thru many of these issues too this past week. It is so easy to read other peoples successes - and then just continue as i have been. But, no one else can do this for me - I have to do it myself.

Love your notebook. And, the idea of hand writing - instead of just typing. Gotta get to WalMart today and will pick up my notebook and stickers. Still need to get that collage put together.

You are truly a doll and an inspiration.

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SUE_2U 5/16/2012 11:09AM

    Whooo hooooo! So awesome! I feel the POWER! You go, girl. Rock it! Spark ON!

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MARILYN1260 5/14/2012 10:20PM

    Your attitude and motivation are so positive that you'll succeed for sure! Best wishes as you take your journey to good health.

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CELLOPLAYER1 5/14/2012 8:18PM

    Good for you. You can do it!

I am getting myself back on track also.
I bought a note book to keep track of my training.
I am training for a 10 mile race in August.

Keep Looking Forward and enjoy your Journey!

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SNUZSUZ 5/14/2012 10:14AM

    Good for you! Very inspirational blog! You CAN do it!!

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MEGCJONES 5/14/2012 10:13AM

    this is great! my little visual motivators have been really helpful in keeping me inspired, which makes me think i need more of them. thanks for your positivity - i've been struggling lately and reading sparkers like you helps me get back on track :) you rock!

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DOLLBABE56 5/14/2012 9:06AM

    I need inspiration and motivation. The idea you "filched" is one I've wanted to try. Today I am going to go buy me some stickers, poster board, and a pretty new notebook. I used to write things down instead of typing, and had success. I like the feel of the pen and paper. Thank you for the inspiration. Now, on with the motivation.

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ECONLADY 5/14/2012 8:11AM

    I have a lost a few pounds this year and I can feel myself losing control and the weight creeping up. I just can find the motivation. I feel like I am a step or two behind you.

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cold blustery weather's good for you...isn't it!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

We've had a really weird mixture of weather over these last couple of months.
Lots of cold blustery winds, heavy showers, thundery downpours and even hailstones but Wednesday dawned dry, cloudless and even a little bit of sunshine showed it's face every now and again though there was a cold wind blowing.
But, the sky was blue, alright it was a greyish blue but it was blue nontheless and looked just right for a nice walk so we headed off to beautiful Flamborough on the East Yorkshire Coast.

Flamborough is a small fishing village.
Well! it used to be but that old way of life is disappearing fast and the only boats which remain now are a couple of crabbing cobles. They looked colourful and cheery in the greying light, painted bright orange and blue. You can buy the cooked crabs fresh from the back of the family's van right on the cliff top...and pretty delicious they are too but then I'm from a fishing family and love seafood anyway, my DH is not so keen and will only eat cod and then only if it's pan fried in eh!

Anyway we set off in the car loaded up with binoculars, cameras, a flask of hot chocolate, gloves and scarves.
As we neared Flamborough the sky grew duller but it didn't rain and after the car disgorged us in the cliff top car park we stepped out into the cold and blustery air which almost took our breath away...the grass was blowing almost horizontal and the seabirds were hung on the air finding it difficult to fly!

Looking down into the tiny North Landing bay it seemed sheltered and windless, the sandy shore safe in the arms of steep chalk cliffs. Like minded people out in the nicer weather strolled the small shoreline or stood gazing out into the bay watching the birds as they swooped and wheeled to settle on the cliffs. There's a bird reserve just a few miles away famous for it's gannets and puffins but we usually have our visits there very early in the morning before the 'tourists' arrive.

We decided not to go down to the bay, I find steps difficult and very painful since I broke my knee, I'm alright coming back up it's the going down I don't like especially when there isn't a bannister and you don't fine those on a cliff
So we chose the cliff top walk going north but stopped short of Thornwick Bay as I can't manage the steep cliffside steps there either.
We had to retrace our steps but it didn't matter there's always something you missed seeing on the way there!

Gannets wheeled and called their haunting cry as they sailed majestically on the wind like great yellow headed planes. The white chalk cliffs had a few nesting gulls but they're just the overspill from the massive cliffs at Bempton where the reserve is.

Looking inland we saw chaffinch, greenfinch, goldfinch, sparrows and swallows, the latter just in from their long trek from Africa. They swooped and wheeled, never landing but catching insects on the wing.
A stately pheasant strutted his stuff looking for all the world like royalty as he regally wandered the lush field edges.
There were greedy roe deer too, nibbling the young shoots off the hawthorn hedge between fields of yellow oilseed rape, their sulphur yellow flowers brightened the area but their perfume's not very nice!

The sea was delicately wind ruffled but almost flat and grey, just lifting gently to swell and fall again except around the cliff edges where it pounded the chalk making foamy white horses rear up the cliff edges. There were even a couple of young men swimming though they were wearing wet suits...rather them than me!

Arriving back at the car windblown but exhilarated we sat and relished a cup of piping hot chocolate, sipping gently at the steaming liquid which fogged my not to burn our tongues!
I'm paying a bit now for those spectacular views and the lovely bracing walk along the cliff top, my plantar fasciitis is playing me up something chronic!!

A few pictures for you to enjoy:

North Landing, Flamborough

The sea made foamy white horses paw at the cliff sides

Looking back from the cliff path towards the bay

Swimmers brave the cold...rather them than me!

Colourful crabbing cobles

A little family walking the water's edge

A stately, almost regal pheasant struts his stuff in the lush field edges

A greedy roe deer nibbling on the new young growth of the hawthorn hedge

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUE_2U 5/13/2012 6:36PM

    I could just smell the sea air, and feel it on my face. Lovely! You write so very well. Love the photos too.

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SNUZSUZ 5/11/2012 11:26PM

    Beautiful pictures and you always tell the story so beautifully too:)

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ECONLADY 5/11/2012 1:26PM

    Wow! Reminds me of when I was in Ireland. Very different from where I live. Thanks for sharing!

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LILYPAD12311 5/11/2012 12:31PM

    Martha Ann! I finally found your page!!! I loved your pictures on Flickr and was wondering where you took them,,,, now I know,,,, you have a wonderful eye for photos,,,,,, sorry that your plantar fasciitis is hurting you,,, but I am going to be selfish now because without the risk you took,,, we won't have these delicious sites into a part of the world that I will probably never see except through the lens of your camera..... the photos you took were amazing! I hope you are feeling better.... and that your plantar fasciitis is now recovered so you can go on to shoot new photos! LOL

PS. I also only like my cod pan fried in butter or deep fried in batter! opps emoticon guess that is why I am on spark's people! LOL

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normal again...

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

On the 2nd December last year I licked a couple of Christmas card envelopes and had a severe allergic reaction to the latex used in the glue.
I'd licked envelopes before but I definitely never will again!
I ended up in hospital unable to breathe properly, bright maroon coloured, covered in big pus filled blisters, all swollen up, very sore and burning hot.

Today after five months and three weeks of treatment I've finally been told I don't need to attend the dermatology clinic any more...Yay!!

I've been going three times a week for photo therapy sessions which have worked wonders and made my skin look normal again. I still have patches of skin with a slight redness and three larger patches under my arms, and another on the back of my neck which can be quite sore and itchy but on the whole I look normal...though I'm not quite sure what 'normal' is for me

I'm showering daily with a special emollient cream which I will have to use forever and then rubbing it all over my body four times a day plus I have two different medicine creams for the sore patches, one to use in the morning and one to use at night. I'm still on a Telfast tablet and probably may never come of it but it's a small price to pay for the way I was.

Because latex is plant based its toxins can be linked to almost every fruit and vegetable there is and three weeks ago I had a slight flare-up again.
It mainly affected my eyes and face but didn't affect my breathing.
I can't pin down what it is that's doing it, could be more than one thing, but as it wasn't a bad reaction the dermatologist has decided that enough's enough and I'll just have to live with it.
I have been trying a different fruit or vegetable on a four day basis since the end of January but so far all the ones I like and eat the most of are fine but I do like to try different things so it'll be a gamble from now on, but I'm not going to let that stop me from enjoying my five a day.

Here are a few photos from the first week in January this year, bearing in mind this was a month after the envelopes were licked you can get an idea of the state I was in at the beginning.
The redness covered my whole body and was very hot and painful.
My left eye was badly infected and was actually shut for three weeks, the infection then went into my sinus cavities which was no joke I can tell you.
Altogether it was a good seven or eight weeks before I saw my skin beginning to return to a more normal hue.
Having it on my body was bad enough but having it on my face was horrible.

The old



large scabs from the blisters

my eye as it was getting more open and less pus filled

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARTHA-ANN 5/11/2012 4:59AM

    Thanks everyone, I look and feel a million times better.
I'll contact you all on your pages. emoticon emoticon

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ECONLADY 5/8/2012 7:00PM

    OMG!!! Yet you have a sunny disposition! Amazing!

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SNUZSUZ 5/8/2012 1:04PM

    OMGosh! What an awful thing to have to go through!

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XME501 5/8/2012 10:26AM

    Hurts just looking at it - but am so glad that you are much better!!! It is amazing how even just licking an envelope can affect us.

Take care!

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GOLDFISHLIZ 5/8/2012 10:25AM

    Oh what a time you've had! Poor you, but thank goodness you have found ways to live with it, and are feeling recovered. Here's hoping nothing ever triggers it off again.
emoticon emoticon

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WELLNESSME09 5/8/2012 10:05AM

    Oh my goodness...all that from licking envelopes.

My thoughts and prayers are with you through this difficult time.

I hope in time that it will heal and you no longer have to go through all of this pain.

Much blessings to you!!! emoticon

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a night to remember...

Friday, May 04, 2012

In true Womens Institute style (you'll know what the WI is if you've seen Calendar Girls) we had a tremendous evening at the Driffield Silver Band Concert along the theme of 'The Last Night of the Proms'.
People bring their own food and drink so you get ladies which end up a bit squiffy and others who just drink water but the atmosphere is terrific.

The Driffield Silver Band conducted by the young Andy Grace made it a night to remember, not only for their wonderful music and camararderie but for Andy's awful yet truly magnificent jokes.

In between tunes, to give the band a breather, he told some truly magnificent groan making jokes. Many we'd heard before but his way of telling them had us all in stitches.
He's a character, cheeky but lovable and he kept saying 'There's more.' and brandishing pages of A4 size paper in the air.

Here's an example:

A little green frog goes into a bank and asks the loans assistant if he can have a loan as he needs a new lilypad.
The assistant, a Miss Patty Black, looks at him and says 'Have you any collateral?'
The little green frog holds up a small ceramic ornament of an elephant and says ' I've got this... and my father's Mick Jagger.'
Still unsure what to do Miss Black says 'I'll have to ask the manager.'
So off she goes into his office and says to him 'There's a little green frog outside wanting a loan for a new lilypad, he's given me this small ceramic elephant as collateral and says his father is Mick Jagger. What shall I do?'
The manager takes the little elephant, examines it before looking up at Miss Black and saying...
'It's a knick knack Patty Black give the frog a loan, his old man's a rolling stone.'

See what I had us in stitches even though we'd heard most of them before.

The band came on stage and took their places, they looked magnificent in their white shirts or blouses, bottle green skirts or trousers and waistcoats with silver buttons and the band logo embroidered in silver too.
The music stands were also draped with bottle green falls, suitably fringed and bearing the band's logo.

Young Tom on lighting, one of our member's seventeen year old grandson, did a magnificent job. He had it just right lighting up the stage with a silvery glow which made the musical instruments twinkle and reflect with every movement as they sat doused in the bright stage lights whilst we sat in semi darkness quiet and expectant with anticipation.

The music was a mixture to please everyone, from sad songs, toe tapping popular songs to the rumbustiuous songs of the Last Promenaders that the concert was named for.

The band donned suitably patriotic headgear for the final session while many of us in the audience did the same or waved our flags and streamers and joined in with the rousing words of 'Land of Hope & Glory' and 'Rule Brittania' before standing to sing the battle cry of the WI'...'Jerusalem' and finally the' National Anthem'

The band stood, the conductor bowed and to shouts of 'more' they finally left the stage and we began the clearing up. Everyone in our little team of eight worked together and it was soon accomplished
It had been a long night, because I'm on the committee I'd set off at six forty five to help set up the hall and by the time we'd finished I finally reached home at eleven fifteen...but it was worth it and even now when I've just written it down it didn't seem that long with the laughter and jokes that goes with the hard work.
It was definitely a good night...a night to remember.

Waiting in anticipation

Band members

Band members

Andy telling one of his jokes

Pariotic hats


The final bow before the WI battle cry 'Jerusalem' and the 'National Anthem'.

Two of our WI committee ladies setting up the raffle, Kathy & Gwyneth

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUE_2U 5/5/2012 2:55AM

    Sounds like so much fun! And I LOL'ed at the joke! emoticon

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MARTHA-ANN 5/4/2012 4:53PM

    Thanks everyone, it was a good night!

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MOM2ACAT 5/4/2012 3:17PM

    Sounds like a wonderful evening!

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ECONLADY 5/4/2012 12:17PM

    Thanks for sharing

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ECONLADY 5/4/2012 12:16PM

    Thanks for sharing

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JESSICASMITH7 5/4/2012 7:53AM

    Great post

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