Daybook Entry 22nd May 2017

For Today… 22nd May 2017

Outside my window… the evening is cooling down a little. Some clouds in the sky but some bright sunshine too. A great metaphor for life!

I am thinking… about a painting I’m working on for a friend

I am thankful… for the space to think today

I am praying for… the country’s young people as they are in the midst of exams

I am wearing… my hair up and my smile down

I am creating… I am between crochet projects at the moment, having finished this last night.

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I am going… to be involved with two hospital funerals tomorrow, where people have died with no next of kin. The first person has some friends and extended family who will be in attendance, but the second has nobody but us laity and clergy to pray for her.

I am wondering… whether we can afford to go on holiday this summer. The car is not fit to tow the caravan and we don’t have the money to fix it, and we won’t have the money for site fees and food while we’re away so it’s unlikely we’ll be able to go. I’m wondering if something will turn up really.

I am reading… “Monk’s Hood” by Ellis Peters. It’s the third book in the Cadfael series and was a free download from Amazon.

I am hoping… to have my poorly ankle manipulated this evening.

I am learning… to be patient.

In my garden… the grass needs cutting but the lawn mower is broken. This post is starting to feel a bit like a moan-fest now!

In my kitchen… we are having a surprise for tea. Emma is here with her best friend and they are cooking something for us all. It smells nice and they have a great track record, so I’m quite looking forward to it.

A favourite quote for today…

A peek into one of my days…

This is my daughter, and I am very proud of her. She is extremely fit and healthy, and she loves running and doing all sorts of physical challenges. This weekend she ran “Tough Mudder” in Grantham, and volunteered to be a marshal for the other racers on Saturday. She has completed four now and has already got the next two planned. Go Em!!

One of my favourite things… is seeing my children flourish and thrive.





One Tough Mudder

I’ve got to share this – my daughter, Emma, one “tough mudder” indeed! dsc_0496.jpg

















In case you didn’t know, I’ve got a bit of an action girl for a daughter and this is her after a weekend of stewarding, camping out, then running the Tough Mudder challenge and more stewarding in Cheshire this weekend. How she does it is beyond me. She is physically very fit, constantly on the go, and loves being outdoors so this kind of thing is right up her street.

She’s a tough cookie in other ways too, having pushed herself to find work in this doom-and-gloom economy amongst other things. She doesn’t have it easy at the minute but she never complains (to me, anyway!) and she is always positive and ready for the next challenge.

She’s my hero really and I wish that I had more of her grit and determination. Good luck tomorrow on your first day at your new job, Emma. Show them you’re one tough mudder!




What A Day!

If you follow my blog regularly, or if you read my last post (daybook entry) then you will know that my life is kind of…busy. Well today has been no exception!

You may know that my son Ethan and I have been asked to play with Besses o’ th’ Barn Band when they play with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in the Albert Hall later this month. It is going to be a big concert. BIG concert. It will be hosted by Classic FM, and the performance will be broadcast on the radio (not sure if it will be live, or recorded to be broadcast later). There are several big name guests, including James Galway – he of the golden flute fame. We are going to be playing the grand march from “Aida” and the 1812 Overture; not an insignificant blow for us brass banders!

We have been rehearsing our bits at band for the last couple of weeks and tonight was the first time we got to play with the orchestra. It was my first time playing with a professional orchestra, and my first time playing under a professional conductor. I was just a little bit nervous to say the least, but I didn’t want my nerves to spoil things and stop me enjoying the moment so I worked hard on keeping a lid on my nerves. Ethan – at 16 years old – was as cool as a cucumber about it all and didn’t break a sweat even though we were playing the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool. We will be playing in this hall again another two times, a day or so after the Albert Hall so it was good to get to know the stage and the acoustics before the pressure really starts. It is a beautiful building, and it has been a real privilege to play in it with this top class orchestra.

One of the ways I cope with my nerves is to try and keep as calm as I can and perhaps do a bit of something random to keep my mind occupied. This afternoon, I got my wish.

Two hours before we were due to leave for Liverpool, we had a phone call from my sister in law telling us that Arthur, my father in law, had escaped from the secure dementia unit he lives in and was missing. Devastating news. He is 81, frail, with a weak heart, limited balance and with rapidly advancing dementia so to hear that he was missing was a huge shock. My thoughts immediately flew to the “he could fall into the canal/be run over by a bus/be mugged by kids/be hurt by someone/fall down and be concealed in overgrown shrubbery and die of exposure” way of thinking, but before we could organise ourselves to go out and look for him a police officer came to our house. We were able to give him an up to date photo of Arthur (the police had a very blurry black and white one that could have been anyone) and he told us that there was about 50 officers out actively looking for him. He said that they were preparing the helicopter to go up and look for him too, which, dramatic as it sounds, was reassuring. They were obviously taking his disappearance seriously and it was a relief to know that the police were on it. They had already contacted the bus companies to alert their drivers to the possibility of him trying to get on a bus and officers from Oldham and North Manchester were putting out a highly visible search for him.

Kevin went out to look with my mum and dad, and I stayed by the phone. I can’t describe the terror I felt at the thought of him out there alone and bewildered, not being able to find his way back and having to rely on other people to protect him. I don’t think I have ever prayed quite so hard for someone’s safety before. It was terrifying. Worse than anything I’ve ever felt.

Thank God that he was found safe later this afternoon. He had managed to get himself a good 3 miles away from the home, and was picked up by a passer by when he was wandering up and down a dead-end street. The passer by asked if he was ok, but had seen lots of police activity in the local area and twigged that something was amiss. Arthur told him he was on his way to work, but the police appeared before anything else was said or done and they escorted him back to safety. Thanks must be to Greater Manchester Police for being all over the area looking for him in the numbers they were or else this passer by might have taken Arthur literally ANYWHERE.

All’s well that ends well, but it could have been so much different and there are some serious questions that have to be asked now, such as, how on earth did he get out of a supposedly secure unit? And how long had he been gone before the staff noticed? And what are they going to do to make sure nothing like this happens again??

After that, I wasn’t really feeling too nervous about travelling to Liverpool to do the rehearsal. Having a scare like that, and the possibility of losing someone in those circumstances puts things into perspective. Nerves definitely under control after that.

Here are a couple of pictures taken during the rehearsal. I will be sharing more of this musical story as it unfolds in a week or so. Look out for posts from that Lundun town on the 22nd September.


View to my right on stage at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool. My son - for some inexplicable reason - is taking a photo of his music in this picture. He is playing Eb bass (Tuba) for some valve practice. Like y'do...
View to my right on stage at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool
View from my stand this evening over the trombone section of the RLPO.
View from my stand this evening over the trombone section of the RLPO.
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra gathering for the rehearsal for the Classic FM concert in the Albert Hall on 22nd September
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra rehearsing for the Classic FM concert in the Albert Hall on 22nd September


In other news from my nutty/busy family, Emma was volunteering today as a steward at a Tough Mudder event in Cheshire, which she will be competing in tomorrow. If you think of a triathlon, then add tons and tons of mud with a bit of climbing over cargo nets, then you will have an idea of what that’s all about. I can’t wait to see the photos tomorrow!

And finally, my brother played in the Last Night of the Proms tonight on TV and radio. Told you we were a busy bunch.