(Tanabata – the Star Festival)

Have you made your wishes tonight

(Tanabata – the Star Festival)
Tanabata, or the Star Festival, is held on the evening of July 7. The festival traces its origins to a legend that the Cowherd Star (Altair) and Weaver Star (Vega), lovers separated by the Milky Way, are allowed to meet just once a year – on the seventh day of the seventh month.
In Tokyo, most people now decorate bamboo branches with just the narrow strips of paper that carry their wishes. then pray hard that their wishes come true

My dad

Well today would be over 30 years since my dad passed away and every year on this day and on his birthday I am reminded at what I lost when I was just 17. A whole load of memories never made and laughs we never had.

My wonderful dad I’m so pleased you were there even for such a short time. I think of you everyday and I miss what we didn’t have after you passed.

Always in my heart and in my thoughts.

Love you still and always

From one of the very first pictures taken of me and my dad to the very last picture ever taken

Crochet

Well a while ago I saw an advert for a crochet away weekend.

Bigcrochetstayaway

I learnt to crochet just over a year ago and thought I could learn something at this weekend ( how to read a pattern) now that would be fab…

So I ring the number and get through to what I now know to be an amazing lady called Louisa

who explained it all to me it’s a full on weekend and you can do as much or as little as you would like to do in an amazing gorgeous beautiful barn in Hertfordshire, now I’m originally from Hertfordshire and moved to derby 10 years ago , so I knew where I was going.

So I paid the money and off I trotted a little nervous as I hadn’t done this before ( would I be good enough, would the people be nice , would I like the food being veggie, would people like me, would I be able to do the projects) .

All worries we mortals have.

Well I needn’t have worried at all, the place was amazing what a wonderful welcome from the amazing Louisa and Caz.

Caz was there the full weekend to show us how to spin yarn. More of that later.

Arrived to a warm welcome and a coffee after a 3 hour drive. Settled in to my gorgeous en-suite room

Other people started arriving and we all got chatting over coffee/ tea and everyone was normal just like me , they just wanted to crochet and some of the things people had already made were very good .

We started with the weekend project all yarn and pattern etc included. It was a table runner designed by Louisa. Louisa was on hand to help us all get started now I work in US terms so Louisa patiently explained the the stitches to me.

I didn’t complete the table runner during the weekend but did finish it at home and it’s been on my table ever since with no sign of me putting it away

Then we sat down to a lovely dinner all freshly prepared by a wonderful cook she had talent I tell you. Along with a few glasses of wine.

Once dinner was finished and we finally all stopped gossiping. We started the Friday night project which Louisa had laid on.

Now this involved Caz who spins yarn with ease. We all had a hand spinner to play with and with Caz’s instructions we were well away, I started a little bumpy as I’m left handed as well but again with the patience of Caz and some one to one I was well away, not something I ever thought I would want to do but how wrong could I have been. The night was Caz let us all have a go on her spinning she’ll now that is one piece of kit and I loved it.

Well we were well into the night by now and finally trotted off to bed well past midnight with all new skills added and new friendships formed .

Morning couldn’t come quick enough and after a wonderful freshly prepared breakfast we were off again a day guest joined us and the crochet talk continued this time we made a bobble hat, well I tell you I learnt brand new stitches for that and I also learned how to read a pattern ( thank you Louisa) that was my main aim of the weekend ( I’ve been struggling to read patterns for the last year and had given up) but one evening /morning with Louisa and woohoo I can do it.

Then we had lunch home made soup and soda bread . Lush

Then another guest the sewing alchemist embroidery well here we go again I thought I’ve never done this am I going to look stupid. Answer was no I didn’t another wonderful lady who just wanted us all to relax and enjoy a craft she clearly adores. Well apart from not being able to thread the needle myself the afternoon flew by. Sorry to say I didn’t manage to complete my project but brought it home to continue.

Pictures of some of her kits and designs

Well the afternoon flew by and before we realised it was dinner time another treat for us all, and very well catered for a difficult vegetarian.

Beautiful table settings. Feeling throughly spoiled.

And yes there was more we learnt to crochet a basket ( you can never have to many baskets) in t shirt yarn who knew t Shirt yarn even existed. More new sills

Then well what can I say the biggest yarn I have crocheted with and the biggest crochet needle I have ever seen. To make and amazing snowflake a variety of colours were available and a neon light and pom-poms yes pom-poms .

Now that’s going to be put up every Christmas it’s just so cool I love it.

Again we were chatting and crocheting long into the night well after 12 before we headed to bed.

The morning brought a hell of a lot of snow.

Breakfast and crochet bauble making and lunch were all lined up. But as I had a 3 hour journey and the snow was bad I didn’t stay much to my disappointment. It took me 5 and half hours to get home I thought I was going to get stuck.

But even that didn’t dampen my enthusiasm and enjoyment from a fabulous weekend spent with like minded people learning new skill.

So much so I have booked on the next weekend in March yes I really enjoyed it and learnt so much I just have to go back.

My story

My story

I’ve been thinking of writing this for
A while now.,,,

Please remember this is my view of my life and others would see this differently to me. I do not mean to offend or upset anyone as this is how I felt and feel
So here goes

Well obviously I was born and to be honest had a pretty fab childhood growing up in the 70’s with a mum who worked part time whilst I was at school and a dad who I just adored and who in my eyes was the best dad ever( yes I know everyone says that).
Only one set of grandparents and they were old when I was born as my mum was the youngest of 6 girls.
But my grandparents were great many happy memories of the days of summer spent with my grandfather and his ford anglia going fishing and even being taken to the pub. Ambrosia rice pudding is what stands out about my grandmother at her kitchen table in her best China bowls ( I still have those China bowls I dare not use them incase something happens to them.
Happy memories of holidays in Cornwall meeting up with aunts uncles and cousins.
I was an only child but lived opposite my aunt and uncle and my 3 cousins who we went on holiday with and who I saw everyday so I definitely wasn’t lonely.
I had a good time at school both primary and secondary and I made some good friends who I am still pleased to call my friends. Academically I was and still am not the best but I try hard and try to succeed. But a lot of my childhood is cloudy and grey and I know I have forgotten more than I remember, you will understand if you continue to read this

Then everything changed for me and to this day it still haunts me and effects me in many many ways. But people don’t always see that do they.

My life Changed when my father had his first Heart attack and was put on the list for a heart bypass, life slowed down and I lost a valuable piece of my dad at that point, it didn’t help that I was only 16 at the time… taking exams was hard enough but with dad being so ill things didn’t go as I had planned.?
I tried my best plastered on my best smile and Carried on as if everything was ok.

Then it got a hell Of a lot worse. My dad had another heart attack a bigger one this time and by then it was too late for a bypass operation( the waiting list had been to long) so it went to being a heart transplant, so here it goes my dad had the heart transplant done by an amazing doctor who did everything he could but a
Week after the transplant when I visited my dad my dad didn’t even recognise me he recognised my mum but not me . You can guess I how felt then . As you can guess that is an overriding memory of that time in my life and tends to cloud my perception.
On that day I lost most of my world. But a few days later it was even worse I lost my dad I was 17.
Mum withdrew to be expected I suppose but i was 17 and I remember her saying you look so like your dad it hurts me to look at you.

Well at 17 and having just lost my dad I guess you could say I went a bit wild. I met my now husband on a holiday in Ibiza when I was 18.
We brought our first house when I was 19 I was born in the shires but I couldn’t stay there as all my family and all my friends still had there dad and it hurt like hell for me, so I brought a house in south London .
I know what I did I ran away from my life, I couldn’t deal with everyone with the pity the friends that didn’t know what to say to me, the fact that everyone else still had there perfect little bubble of a life. When my life had been totally destroyed and would never feel right again,

Work and my other half got me through those dark days I wish only one thing that my husband had known my father but that was not to be.
How can I explain in words that everyone will understand how life changing this event was and how it has shaped and effected every single aspect of my life so far.
I ran and ran and ran away from my life and still do even now. When the going get tough I get going…., yes it’s a cliche but it’s true… I lost everything on that day and not a moment goes past when I don’t wish I could turn back time and delete that day If I could delete the day and the memory then maybe it wouldn’t hurt so much.

Life then got pretty ordinary we got engaged we got married no dad to give me away but a loving uncle stepped in and gave me away on behalf of my dad I still remember his words as well. He said he wished it wasn’t him who was giving me away as it wasn’t really his job to do that… we had a whisky that day my dads favourite bottle and I can’t even stand whiskey.
Things settled down I worked hard I had a good laugh with my husband and we did a lot of things and to this day he can make me laugh and giggle and brings out the best me, his patience with me has no bounds ( I can be very difficult) but he knows this and has always seen the best in me even on my darkest days. Of which there are quiet a few, not that anyone would notice as my mothers words ring in my ears plaster on your best fake smile and don’t let the world know your dying inside. Then I was ill and again life threw a bloody brick at me hence it’s just me and my husband.
Than my mother got ill when I was 40 that was traumatic and brought me straight back to when 17 again and my dad. I lost my mum and the rest of my world collapsed around me. If it wasn’t for my husband I think I would have crawled
In a corner and given up.
So now I am an orphan no parents and just my husband.
My aunt rings me every week without fail thank you M you don’t know what that means to me, it means more than I can ever say,
Friends are what keeps me stable but I don’t even think they know what’s really happening inside me as I have to plaster that smile on so the world doesn’t see the pain, if they did they would run a mile.

I try to be me and to be happy I am most of the time I live my life and enjoy it but it is always tinged with a sadness that doesn’t seem to dissipate
No matter how hard I try.

This has shaped me and my life but events always do I often wonder what I would have turned out like if I hadn’t lost my dad
so early on. Maybe I would be the same as I am but just let people in rather than keep most people at arms length.
Yes I have friends good friends that i rely on but they do not see my dark moments well maybe a couple of them have seen a dark moment every now and then as I try to keep that part of me inside and well and truly hidden from the world as I don’t like it so how can anyone else like me. These moments are only ever clearly visible to my husband bless him.

Well let’s plaster on that smile and
Get on with things shall we.

I have recently found Shinto Buddhism a combination of Buddhism and the ancient Japanese Shinto faith and I can truly say that this does offer some peace to me and tends to ward off some of the darker moments and enlightens my life, when I think like this I feel free and alive. At last I have found something that brightens me up inside and makes the real me shine through , the days are now fewer that I have to plaster on my fake smile just so I can face the world. I believe I am
Slowly finding my inner peace that has been missing since I was 17.

Shinto Buddhism

Shinto or kami-no-michi (the original traditional term) is the natural spiritual cult of Japan

The nature of Shinto as a faith should not be misunderstood. … Because ritual rather than belief is at the heart of Shinto, Japanese people don’t usually think of Shinto specifically as a religion – it’s simply an aspect of Japanese life. This has enabled Shinto to coexist happily with Buddhism for centuries.
It is believed that before Buddhism was introduced in Japan, however, Shinto was born from an existing primitive form of religion that worshipped nature. The ancient people of Japan honored sacred spirits that they recognized in nature, manifesting in mountains, rocks, rivers and trees

Shinto is an optimistic faith, as humans are thought to be fundamentally good, and evil is believed to be caused by evil spirits. Consequently, the purpose of most Shinto rituals is to keep away evil spirits by purification, prayers and offerings to the kami

Yarmouth

Road trip to Yarmouth this weekend . Not a good start it was raining heavily when we left home.

Stopped on the way once we got about 60 miles away at a pancake and waffle shack now these are waffles with a difference I had a mac and choroiz waffle and T had a fish finger waffle mine was washed down with a crunchie milkshake. 

Well we made it to the hotel Andover House Hotel  and It’s not raining woohoo this is lovely what a beautiful room very nicely done and the staff are very inviting and a we got a warm welcome. 

Then off out exploring find the two restaurants we have booked and walk along the sea front we saw the donkeys and ate cockles whilst watching the sea…. bliss.   
Pancakes and waffle shack 

Seafront 

Donkeys on the beach 

Bath

Ok so went to Bath this Easter weekend a very nice treat and ready to relax. We have never been to Bath before so should be good. Obviously we have googled all the places we should vist whilst there, so we have a list of must do’s .  

But hey we will go with the flow and see where it takes us. We have booked restaurants though already,as it’s a bank holiday and will every busy.  Thursday night at Las Iganus well that was lovely the food was amazing mind you I do love Mexican there’s one in Derby where we live but we have never been. It’s a mixture of Mexican, Chillian and Brazilian food and was vey good even the cocktails were good. We also booked a curry (T loves a good curry) on Friday night at the Rajpoot one of the top 10 curry houses in Bath.  Well that was Also lush very spicy but so good and the atmosphere was good as well. Very tasty and well priced. 

There are loads of shops in Bath well I suppose with that many visitors all the stores want one there. There is a lot of choice as well as some very good one off shops well I loved the shopping I must say. Also there are loads of coffee houses a couple of very good independent ones as well which was refreshing. The buildings all look stunning in the Bath  stone. The Roman Baths was very busy and at £15 entry fee was rather steep. Also the spa was £34 for two hours and was packed as well. The Royal crescent looked amazing. 

Pictures of bath the crescent  

 
Entrance to the park near the crescent  

 
Of the Sally Lunn bun  
Rajpoot restaurant   

Day 7

Ok so today we decided to do Victoria Peak in the daylight. We caught the shuttle from the hotel to TST. Then we caught the MRT to central and then we walked up a very very steep hill to the tram way station. The que was long but moved fairly fast and the tram ride was very surprising like everywhere in HK there is very limited space so everything is on top of each other. The views on the tram were good. We did have lunch in Bubba Gumps as we don’t have them in the UK and I do love shrimp. Lunch cost around £50 but we are I holiday after all. Saw the view in the day amazing. 

View from Tram

  
   
    
View from Victoria Peak

     
 

Day 5

Day 5
Well up at 7 am today as coach picking us up at 8 am to go on the Lantau Island tour. Ok coach took us to HK ferry where we got the 30 minute ferry ride over to Lantau Island and a coach took us to a beach Cheung Sha Beach it was lovely see picture below. Then on to Tai O fishing village which all the houses are on stilts and we had a 20 minute boat ride as well as a walk round the market which was mainly fish. then on to see the big Bhudda, and a vegetarian lunch at Po Lin monastery there are shops and bits there on the walk to the a gong Ping Skyrail road which is a cable car and is about 5.7 km long and very worthwhile the views are awesome. Then back to the hotel to relax.for dinner we went to the spaghetti house food very good and reasonable price. 

Cheung Sha Beach 

  

Tai O fishing village

   
 Big Bhudda

   
 
View from cable car 

  

Day 4 Hong Kong 

Woke earlier today woo hoo. Had a coffee as usual then to the shuttle bus to Tst then went on the Star ferry over to HK island. Went to Wan Chai market very strange pigs heads and whole ducks and fish and well the smell was awful, then looked around and caught the star ferry back had a coffee and back to the hotel as we have a tour to get at 5 pm today…. 

Left hotel at 4.20 and got to park hotel at Tst for 5.00 so we had a coffee in cream soldiers cool coffee house near the park hotel independent and small but good coffee. The coach picked us up and took us to pier 3 to pick up a Chinese junk for an hour and a half harbour cruise with cocktails it was very good. After we got off the junk we went up Victoria peak on HK island and had dinner in Bubba Gumps restaurant food good but service was slow the whole place was decorated for Halloween but the view is amazing. Then on to Temple Night Market it has eveverything including food so does smell a bit. Back to hotel about 11.25.the trip was booked with Viator who we used before in tokyo. 
View from junk 

   
View from Victoria park