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Give Thanks; It’s Good For You

18 Apr

Image result for celebration gif

Whether you believe in God or not, it is a good habit to count your blessings. In fact, it has been scientifically proven that being thankful for what you have is good for your health and mental wellbeing. I know this because I saw it in a Twitter meme, so it must be true. For it to work, it is recommended that you find at least five things to be thankful for. 

I record daily thanks in a notebook and I’ve been doing it for about six years. I only have bad moods on non-recording days but this might be because I don’t record my thanks because I’m in a bad mood. Science has to get back to me on that one.

Thanks should be personal to you because it’s unrealistic to be thankful for the neighbour a few doors down with the flawless skin and gleaming hair when you’re going through age-mandated repuberty and you look like Dorian Gray’s older, less attractive sister. They don’t need to be big things, though we ought to be thankful for them also. On days when I’m almost in a bad mood and can’t be bothered to be grateful that my fingernails look fabulous, I use my big things as default thanks: husband, kids, grandson, dogs, health, wealth, outstanding personality. More often than not, though, I’m thankful for small things like cheese & onion crisps, panty liners, invites to dinner at friends’ homes=no cooking, etc., and I have been thankful for as many as 23 separate things on Malteser days.

Today, to put my money where my mouth is, I’m going to share my thanks with you.

I am thankful for:

  • My lack of money, because it teaches me the true value of things (a little fake sincerity is surprisingly positive at times)
  • How often my fake sincerity teaches me the true value of things
  • That I’m not in a bad mood
  • For my eldest child; I love him so much
  • For the man he has become
  • Cheese & onion crisps, obviously
  • That he’s a fantastic father
  • That he’s known me for 28 years and yet he still talks to me
  • That blogging is cheaper than a birthday card

Surprise!

Happy birthday, darling! 

Thank goodness that’s over with.

Oops! Did I say that out loud? Thank goodness he didn’t read me. And that he has a great sense of humour…

Excluding what we have established is the boring (family/pets/health/etc.), what are YOU thankful for?

Thank You

22 Feb

Thank you, everyone, for your good wishes this week. It’s a thrill to know how many friends I have, in the real and virtual worlds. I intend to respond to you all but this has been a manic week for me – although, these days, when is it not?

Image result for the music man

I wanted to take a minute to share a video with you. As you know, Alex has sung with Sheffield University Broadway Orchestra many times, performing lost (though presumably found by the time they get to him) and forgotten (though presumably remembered etc., etc.) songs, some of which he was the first person ever to sing, or the first person in Britain ever to sing, for as many as eighty years.

On Sunday, he will sing in what will probably be his last Broadway concert, as he graduates this year.  

😦

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Sorry, I needed a moment there. I have LOVED these concerts. Apart from The Tree of War (obviously), they have been my favourite shows to watch. They are fabulous.

The show is composed of songs from The Music Man, in honour of its sixtieth birthday. I had thought that they are not lost or forgotten but the website says the show includes ten songs cut from the original. Either way, they are rarely performed these days so, if you are in the Sheffield area on Sunday night, why not pop along? Here’s a link: The Music Man

To whet your appetite, here’s a snippet from rehearsal. Alex is singing with his regular collaborator, Debra Finch.

Birthday Boy

18 Apr

Twenty-seven years ago today, I was given a little gift:

I loved this gift.  I played with it and dressed it and took it with me everywhere.  And then one day I lost it (I hate Lancaster University; anywhere he’s ever lived; any job he’s ever had).

But then, my gift returned one day, bearing another gift:


So I forgave my gift for having a life of its own without me, and was just glad that it had doubled in size.

Happy birthday, darling!  Did you know that you share your birthday with some illustrious people, including:

  • Lucretia Borgia (alleged poisoner) (hey, there weren’t that many careers available to 15th Century women)
  • Bernard Ogilvie Dodge (American botanist and pioneer researcher on heredity in fungi) (no joke required; his job says it all)
  • Clara Eggink (Dutch poetess) (…?)
  • George Huntington Hartford II (American heir) (seriously, who wants to be famous for being an heir – Prince William excepted, of course?  I’d rather be famous for being an alleged poisoner; at least I’d be making my own way in the world) (though I wouldn’t object to being an unfamous heir)
  • Lenny Baker (rocker with Sha Na Na) (well that’s just embarrassing) (though he is saved by the fact he was in Grease) (and he is often mistaken for Kenny Baker – being mistaken for a midget android with a cute voice has to be a step up, surely?)
  • Herbert Mullin (American serial killer) (some mothers do ‘ave ’em) (not this mother, of course) (right?)
  • Bernadette Robi (ex-wife of football player Lynn Swann) (yes, well…almost as worthy as being born an heir)
  • Thankfully, the list is saved by the great David Tennant (my child has a Doctor Who connection!!  He is now officially my favourite child)
  • Kourtney Kardashian (and he’s back off the favourite child list) (happy birthday, anyway, sweetie pie xxx) (love you)

Author’s Note:

The favourite child thing is just a joke: mothers don’t have favourite children.

But grandmothers do.

21 Today!

15 Jan

Linda & Alex 15011996

Happy birthday, Spud!  You survived me to manhood; you deserve a medal…or at the very least, a trip to the RSC to see Simon Russell Beale smash Prospero.

Oh, wait, we did that yesterday!

This is you, handsome as always:

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This is you, letting me be in the picture this time:

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We love you; we’re proud of you; please get rich so that you can look after us in our old age.  That’s why we had you, after all.

Here’s a birthday poem for you:

Happy birthday to Spud
You’re not quite a dud
You like Shakespeare
And have big hair
You’re a good kid, though weird*

*Seriously, what do you expect?  It’s almost midnight last night and I was out on trains, eating chips, and at the theatre all day; if that isn’t good mothering, I don’t know what is.  Don’t expect great poetry as well.

Happy birthday, darling boy!  

PS Angry Men!  Snow!

 

Rogue’s Gallery

10 Oct

Happy birthday to the Hub!
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Such a cheerful man.  You can see why I’ve stayed married to him for so long, can’t you?

He was a good glass; a reliable glass...

Here's how I did react

A honeymoon pic.  He was twenty.

DSCN0832A barrel of laughs.

A silent Hub

A self-portrait he made which freaked the heck out of me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linda pregnant 1996005When a man looks that good, here’s the inevitable result…

No Need To Nag

15 Jan

I had an email from Facebook: ‘Today is Alex Cosgriff’s birthday.’  

To be honest, I was offended; as if I need some mindless, faceless mass to tell me the date my child was born.

Get lost, Facebook.

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Uh…oh…um…nearly forgot: happy birthday, Spud.

Linda & Alex 15011996

A Grand Day Out

6 Oct
Everything you need for village living

Everything you need for village living

The conversation went like this:

Friend Pam: Look at these fabulous desserts at the restaurant where we took Mum and Dad for their anniversary.

Tilly Bud: Drool…

Friend Pam: I’ll take you there one day; you have to eat these puddings; they’re fabulous.

Will she, bud?: Droo…l

Friend Pam: Hang on a minute…your birthday’s coming up…I’ll take you for a meal on your birthday!

There is a God: Thank yo…r….oo…l…

And so it came to pass last Wednesday that I found myself heading out of Manchester and into Burnley.  To misquote Field of Dreams (and, in fact, tell an outright lie for comic effect), the only thing we have in common is that Pam came from Burnley; and I had once heard of it.

Pam suffers from a chronic condition: she cannot plan an event without it being a huge success and, as we were heading in that direction, she reasoned, why not go up the famous Pendle Hill (never heard of it) and be tourists in the famous Witch Trial/Trail area (never heard of it).  We could see the famous Eye of God (never heard of it) in the famous centuries-old church (never heard of it) where her husband had proposed to her (I’ve heard of him); call in at the Elizabethan Towneley Hall (never heard of it); eat lunch there (definitely heard of that!); call in to see her parents for some northern hospitality (we’re all famous for that up here); and finish off at the famous pudding restaurant (which sells other food but, seriously, who cares?).

The woman is a genius.

DSCF3292We had a fabulous day.  Pendle Hill was gorgeous; the witch business was fascinating and a little sad (hanging innocent women gets me like that; I dunno why).  The church was…open.  It was hard to believe we were in 21st Century Britain when we could walk into an open, unmanned church and be trusted not to damage/steal anything.  Amazing.  Of course, it probably helped that it was situated halfway up a mountain in the middle of witch country.

DSCF3264I forgot to take my camera but Pam obliged by taking photos with hers, including my request for a pic of the inside of the public toilet – it had a high cistern with a chain!  I was back in my childhood (complete with cold seat) particularly as, technically, it was an outside loo.  Pam and I have a friendly rivalry going to see which of us is most common and I think I win because I was born in a Liverpool slum and come from Irish peasant stock (hence the Liverpool slum): an outside toilet with a lock was a step up for me.

My favourite spot: The Long Gallery. Can you see me way back there?

My favourite spot: The Long Gallery. Can you see me way back there?

Towneley Hall was wonderful.  Walking through rooms which have been inhabited by who knows how many people over the past 500 years is one of my favourite things to do and I’m afraid my mouth got stuck in the Wow! position until it hurt Pam’s ears.  But that’s to be expected of a slumdog, of course.  I was, like, well impressed.

DSCF3297There was a slight change of plan when we saw the queue outside the restaurant door and, as we’d only had huge slices of cake for elevenses we decided – which is to say, Pam decided and I went happily along with any plan intended to feed me – to head straight for pudding paradise and eat there, calling in for a brew at Pam’s folks’ afterwards.  Which is just as well as Pam’s Mum was having her feet done and didn’t really want her guest to see that.  I don’t know why; I’ve got feet; I know how the whole thing works.

I am praying for the strength to dig in and climb out the other side

I am praying for the strength to dig in and climb out the other side

I forget the name of the place where we ate because I was too busy stuffing my gullet with a delicious carvery (which could have been called a spoonery because the meat just fell off the bone and the chef told me that sometimes he has to use a spoon to serve it) to write it down.  Pam tells me it’s called Sycamore Farm.  Check the desserts:

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Now tell me it wasn’t worth turning 52 just for that.

We rolled out of there for the short journey to Pam’s parents’ house and I’m not sure that it wasn’t the best part of my day.  Her parents are lovely and her mother is adorable.  She hugged me despite never having met me before and then gave me an entertaining rundown of some of her neighbours, past and present.  They included friendly drug addicts who ran in to help during a crisis to the creepy bloke who introduced himself with the words, I’m not a paedophile and I’ve got a letter to prove it.  Pam’s Mum – or I should say, Pamela’s Mum, because that’s what she called her the whole time; no one ever calls Pam Pamela, she’s too friendly to be full-named;  but you know what mothers are like.  As I was saying, Pamela’s Mum wasn’t convinced by the not-a-molester, though she was glad to see him go when he was arrested for his cannabis farm and stealing his neighbour’s electricity to supply it.  I can’t decide which of her neighbours was my absolute favourite, but it’s a toss-up between the biker who stripped and rebuilt his motorbike many times over fifteen years, in the middle of his living room and partner and children; or the dominatrix who kept a dungeon in the basement but lived elsewhere.

DSCF3278Don’t think that any of this is my usual hyperbole; I swear I had it straight from the horse’s mouth – which was wearing its false teeth at the time, as she happily informed me.  Only the best for Pam’s friends.

I think I love her.

Thank you, Pam, for giving me a brilliant day, showing me a fantastic time, and for having a wonderful mother.

All photographs courtesy of Pam Robinson.

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