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this page was last updated on 13 August 2014

 

this is the 'Latest News' I uploaded in 2008 

 

A superb Christmas Day lunch at Belinda's finishing just in time to waddle in front of the telly for the Queen's Speech [of course! It's tradition - if you missed it you can see it on YouTube here - how refreshing we still have a national leader who's not afraid to mention Christianity at Christmas!! If we're not careful this nation will degenerate into a homogenised "let's not offend anyone" society as in the USA where 'Happy Holiday' has replaced 'Merry Christmas.' Bah Humbug I say .. okay, okay, I'll get off my soapbox now!!]. More photos here

 
 

Our now-traditional family Christmas get-together at mom's on Christmas Eve 2008 where we all try and meet up to share fellowship and then our presents!! To see more photos click here.

 
 

Our Choir held its Christmas Concert on Saturday 13th December 08 and it's always a good start to the festive period. A number of video clips have been put up on YouTube - to see one of them click here

 
 

birthday boy with his pride & joy .. his new car

My nephew Matthew has passed his driving test - he'd kept it such a secret I only got it know about it via Facebook .. !! Well done Matt.

 
 

14 Dec 08A pre-Christmas family get-together with my nephew & Viv who can't be here over Christmas. Photo taken just as we'd got in from a meal out - Sunday 14th December.

 
 

I went to a Concert on Saturday 22nd November where the West Midlands Police Male Voice Choir sang. An interesting mix of music with a great deal of humour thrown in. A good night out ..

 
 

How rude!! here's a photo created by a 'friend' to show how she thought I'd look in a school 'Year Book' circa 1960. I was never that hip & trendy - sadly!!

 
 

A lovely walk over Clent & Walton in these beautiful autumnal colours .. Friday 21st November.

 
 

We held our Old Gang's reunion on Wednesday 19th November at the Dudley Arms @ Himley, our last get-together this year, so we had a meal and exchanged Christmas cards (well, actually, as it's nowhere near Christmas Eve my cards haven't yet been bought let alone written!!). We know each other from our teenager days, so that's going back some .. !! I managed to get home without knowing the England v Germany friendly game so sat down and watched all that. It was a late night to bed ....

 
 

I've just spent a long weekend in London (15-17 Nov 08) meeting up with an old mate & making some new friends of his; whilst taking the time for sightseeing! Only the journey home [my train breaking down and then the replacement didn't manage to get to Birmingham - but that's another story!!] detracted from the weekend!! More photos here

 
 

It was Amie's 18th birthday party for the family on Sunday 16th November - see photos of the day here

 
 

I've just got in from a strenuous walk over the Clent Hills with my next door neighbour Terry - Friday 14th November 08. It's been a lovely mild day with plenty of sunshine .. and fresh air in my lungs too. I may sleep well tonight!!

 
 

Edward Scissorhands imageI went to see 'Edward Scissorhands' at the Hippodrome Theatre in Birmingham on Wednesday 12th November .. an interesting interpretation!! Says it all really .. but it was a good night out

 
 

Manchester's Town HallI've just returned from a lovely few days in Manchester; I went to meet  a former work colleague, Paul B, and his family & friends and in the process making new ones .. including Wei [a recent newcomer to these shores from China - with a fascinating tale of life in the rural areas], young Cameron Woods who was keen to show me on YouTube his interview with the local BBC - have a peep here - and James, your typical Aussie. Superb pre-meal drinks in the the rather quirky Great John Street Hotel.  (Sadly I forgot my camera so no pics!!) My SatNav played havoc in the city centre! Trying to get home was a nightmare .. leaving the hotel car park I was told to 'turn left' but just as I got to the entrance with the road it changed to 'turn right.' Then after 5 minutes of twists & turns along side roads I drove passed the hotel again!! Then it failed 4 times at crucial junctions due to the high buildings. Pah!! Now I'm home, so back to reality .. but a weekend in London looms soon! Hooray.

 
 

Photo showing me bringing the Mayor of Sandwell into our Choir's Festival of Remembrance concert/service ... held on Saturday 8th November. To see a montage of photos of the evening put to music on YouTube, click here

 
 

It's Remembrance weekend (8th & 9th November) building up to the 90th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice on 11th November in 1918. It always makes me think of dad whose own father (after whom I was named) was killed on Christmas Eve in 1916 during a skirmish in the Battle of the Somme. My own dad was only 6 months old .. how sad is that?! My dad lost & and never knew his father and his mother got this certificate [see image left - do read the tremendous words]. This sacrifice is why I always wear my poppy with pride .. see details of my paternal grandfather, including a copy of the letter to my grandmother from the sister of a Casualty station, here

 
 

Photo taken off Southampton University's live webcast of their Degree Awards ceremony, held on Friday 7th November 08 - it shows my nephew Adam getting his First Class honours degree. More photos here and to see a youtube video clip of Adam click here

 
 

My next door neighbour was meeting up with his former working colleagues to organise their next year's programme of outing etc. I just tagged along for the ride, food & their good company [I've been out with them before] so am now an honorary member of BR so I can join in with their UK-wide plan of visits for 2009 .. !! 

 
 

I went on Sunday 2nd November to Halesowen Baptist Church with Rita to hear Stephen Bentham preach there - our paths crossed many times in BB many years ago. It's always good to renew acquaintances; and a good service to boot!! 

 
 

I met up with some old friends for coffee @ Cath's on Thursday 30th October, not having seen them for a number of years - seen here with Mike Morray, Denis Riley & Cath James. 

 
 

A walk in the woods alongside Halfpenny Green airport - as you can see, Autumn's here with a vengeance with such beautiful colours! (Taken Monday 27th October.) 

 
 

Josh came home the weekend to celebrate his 22nd birthday. Mom & I popped round to see him on Sunday 26th October - photographed here with Beth & Matt.

 
 

with a look of determnationI went to watch my niece Bethany play football with her team Dudley United FC's under 14s team on Saturday 25th October, playing @ home to the league leaders, West Bromwich Albion's under 14s girls' team. It was a great game with Bethany playing really well in goal, but sadly her team lost 5-2. (If only WBA can beat Hull the same in the Premiership this afternoon!!) More photos here

 
 

Privates on ParadeI went to see 'Privates on Parade' at the Birmingham Rep on Thursday 23rd October. As the programme says "it's Malaya in 1948 and the British Army is fighting communism. One of its secret weapons is the bawdy humour and musical revue of the Song and Dance Unit." Once I was over the initial onslaught of bad language ('bawdy' .. !!) it developed into both a funny and yet thought provoking play.

 
 

who's been a naughty boy then??!!I went with Joy & Lynton to stay with Lynne & Ian at their home in Torquay from Thursday 16th - Sunday 19th October 08. We met at Sidmouth and shopped as usual ending up, again as usual, in the Belmont Hotel for afternoon tea! On the Friday we went to Dartmouth [having a superb sail on the River Dart] and on Saturday to sunny Brixham & Berry Head. On Sunday we went to Cockington for yet more walking and to see me in the stocks!! Another 'Ab Fab' weekend away!! More photos here

 
 

It was Windsor High School's annual sports award held at the Cornbow Hall on Thursday 9th October. My niece Bethany won the under 13s football, rounders & 'outstanding commitment' awards. The prizes were handed over by 'Blind Dave' of "7 marathons in 7 continents in 7 days" fame - only the 3rd person in the world to do this, and the first ever blind person to do so! To read the Daily Telegraph article of the story click here. The photo shows Bethany getting her award from him. (Bethany was also one who received her school's hockey, netball and basketball 'Team Award' for each sport.)

 
 

I went to the 35th anniversary of the 3rd Halesowen Company, Boys' Brigade on 4th & 5th October. It was good to renew fellowship with old friends. More photos here.

 
 

me, Margaret, Graham & Paul [kneeling]It was the Circuit Ladies' Choir annual event on Friday 26th September, where my former boss Paul Bond was the pianist. This photo shows us afterwards with Graham Handley [with whom I worked for many years] and Margaret Bond.

 
 

Bev held open-house her now annual 'Macmillan Nurses Big Coffee Morning' on Friday 26th September. To see more photos click here

 
 

I went with Bev to see Ali in a half-marathon @ Windsor on 21/9, staying with Abi & Alan from Friday 19th - 22nd September. Of the 3999 people who took part, Alexander came 104th - see full list of results here.  To see more photos of the race & weekend click here

 
 

It was my nephew Matt's formal 18th birthday party on Thursday 18th September 08, held at Next Generation @ Brierley Hill. It was loud with much dancing [the DJ didn't play any Mozart, which confused me!!] and a good time was had by all. More photos here

 
 

15 Sep 08We had a 'Majorca Reunion' on 15th September when June, John, Peter & I went to Joy & Lynton's for lunch, gossip and to catch up on holiday snaps ...

 
 

Matt trying to quickly blow out his candles so we'll stop singing 'happy birthday' .. I thought we sounded good!!Matthew was 18 on 11th September and he celebrated on the day with his college friends. But the family gathered on Sunday 14th to do our bit .. Matt is shown here blowing out his birthday cake candles [oh to have so few!!!]. More photos here.

 
 

I went into Birmingham on Friday 12th September to see/hear what was happening as part of the annual Brum Arts Fest. The photo shows some of the Archers cast getting an award from the Deputy Mayor - taken in Centenary Square. It was literally pouring with rain and it's sad to say only a few Archers fan stalwarts braved the elements to see this! Luckily when ex-cathedra sang in the cathedral a few hours later we were able to sit in the dry; the only thing we soaked up this time was their gorgeous singing.

 
 

I still meet up with a number of friends from our old 'teenage gang' days at Short Cross .. 45 years on!! There are only 5 of us who live locally enough to meet now and again but we managed this on Wednesday 10th September. (From l-r is Pat, me, Joy & Deb.)

 
 

It was Andy Warhol who said everyone would be famous for 15 minutes .. well it was only 2 minutes for me, but after sending a text message to BBC R5L on Tuesday 2nd Sept about the absurdity of allowing oil rich governments to use their massive petro-dollar wealth to buy our football clubs [shouldn't they spend it on their own population in schools/hospitals etc] the BBC phoned me back to see if I'd go on air to discuss this with presenter Sarah Derbyshire. I did .. though with a few splutters on my part, Jeremy Paxman has nothing to fear from me!!

 
 

Adam & AliMy nephews Adam & Alexander went to a Vicars & Tarts' Party recently - they scrub up well don't they?!! More photos here

 
 

I went walking for a couple of hours along the bank of the river Severn today, 27th August 08, and just as we were getting into the town of Stourport [and when my energy levels were beginning to flag] I stumbled across this house displaying a wonderful 'Baggies' flag ... it spurred me on to walk faster [for a minute or two at least!!!].

 
 

It was mom's 86th birthday on Tuesday 26th August. Because mom always meets her 98 year old sister May that day we meet up with her at my aunty's to swap cards, sing Happy Birthday and eat cake! More photos here

 
 

the ubiquitous family photo!!The family got together on Sunday 24th August to celebrate mom's birthday later in the week. We met at Bev's for a BBQ as all her brood were home, and Barrie & Jane and their lot had got home from 2 weeks holiday in Scotland only the day before. The weather held good and you can see more photos here

 
 

Albion's foray into the Premiership started today 16/8 playing away to Arsenal - can you imagine a more difficult game! A respectable loss @ 1-0 was fine by me. I had folk round to watch the game .. my TV remained intact so all was not lost!

 
 

I went with my neighbour to meet up with his former BR colleagues, when we spent the day on the Severn Valley Railway - 15th August 08. The weather was good and a good full day was had. This photo shows us in the Royal Mail's travelling post office carriage as collected in the SVR Museum.

 
 

I went to the Birmingham Opera Company's production of Mozart's Idomeneo in Birmingham on Thursday 14th August. Held in a disused former Rubber Factory it was the usual style of stand and move around. We stood overall for almost 2˝ hours with only the occasional sit down on mats on the ground! The photo [taken on my mobile] shows how the production/cast moved around us all and how close they were to us. At one point the leading lady was singing no more than 3 feet away from me.

 
 

My nephew Alexander took part in the London Triathlon held on Sunday 10th August 08. More details to follow, but to see a brief video of him crossing the finishing line [he's in black, running in from behind] click here

 
 

Another walk, early on in the week, this time was along the canal - the forecast rain kept off an we saw loads of families on their barge holidays 

 
 

I think Christmas has come early - on the Family tree front at least! A [long lost] cousin of mine, Wendy, got in touch to say she too is 'doing family history' on the Tromans [my mom's side of the family] and had traced members back to 1627 ... ! Makes my efforts look a little understated. I met with Wendy shortly afterwards and in the 5 hours we had she ran me through everything she had, including giving me scanned copies of all her certificates and registers. I'm now slowing working my way through each and will add them to my own records after I've validated each step. But thank you Wendy - it's like knowing the answers before I even know the question! 

 
 

In a very busy week of meeting friends, lunches out, the highs and lows of a wedding and a funeral, I did find time [and needed to!] to spend a day out with my neighbour for a good hard slog around the Wyre Forrest - 1st August. We may only have walked for 2 hours and 5 minutes but it wasn't an easy walk. I needed my pot of tea when we got back to their Visitors' Centre!! 

 
 

Rather delayed, Josh has let me have some photos of his Graduation ceremony for his degree in Politics & History at Sheffield University. More photos here   

 
 

Also a little delayed, you can see here some of Josh's photos from his 4 weeks in Thailand.   

 
 

stepping out the French doors for my first glass of wineAt Bev's 25th-26th July helping to celebrate her new French doors ... with weather to suggest Summer has finally arrived!! More photos here   

 
 

outside pub number 2 .. the Hare & Hounds in HasburyIt was my neighbour's stag do today - Saturday 19th July - and they we doing 18 pubs playing to the 'golfing rules' ... I managed a few pubs before wending my way home. Best not to be let loose with too much alcohol inside me!  

 
 

My niece Katie continues her life of Riley in Thailand .. seen here washing elephants!! Some other photos here

 
 

Adam BevanMy nephew Adam got his degree results today [16/7] and heard he'd gained a First in Accountancy. Superb result, well done Adam!! I did get my Cycle Proficiency Test award, 2nd attempt!! I don't know what all the fuss is about ... 

 
 

James with his girlfriend and her sisterIt was my nephew James' 40th birthday 'garden party' on Saturday 12th July 08 at his home in Pottersheath, Herts. We stayed over until the Sunday. More photos here

 
 

My niece Bethany has won the annual "Outstanding Player of the Year" award with the football team she plays for as goalkeeper .. !! If she's that good, I'll get her to sign up for the Albion!!

 
 

I spent a weekend with Joy & Lynton and Lynne & Ian @ Catshill 5th/6th July - having first had a "4th July" meal at my house on the Friday. A good weekend of chuckles, outings and good food [finished off by watching a superb Men's final @ Wimbledon]. More photos here

 
 

me in TARZAN mode ....I went to Wales for a few days early July, staying at Llandanwg, near Harlech. The weather wasn't what you'd expect for July, but we should be used to that this year!! Do you think my Tarzan act suits me?? No? Oh well, neither do I actually. More photos here

 
 

my nephew JoshuaJosh heard today 26/6 that he'd gained a 2:1 in his degree @ Sheffield University - he was emailed his results while he's in Thailand. Well done Josh .. great result!!

 
 

My niece Kate has also now flown out to Thailand with a friend, and though it's a totally different holiday from Josh's they are to meet up on Saturday 28th June 08for a meal - before going their separate ways! I used to go to Barmouth, Wales for my 'getaway' weeks ... how times have changed!!

 
 

my nephew, Alexander

My nephew Alexander took part in a YMCA look-a-like competition recently and you can see his contribution here on YouTube - he's the builder, 2nd from the left. I'm his Godfather and always wanted him to join a Monastery .. now you know why!!

 
 

I went to the National Tramway Museum @ Critch, Derbyshire on Monday 23rd June with my neighbour Terry & some his former work colleagues. An enjoyable day out meeting some new and entertaining folk. More photos are here].

 
 

my nephew Joshua - April 08My nephew Joshua has taken time out to travel to Thailand for a few weeks. He's gone alone with the intention of making new friends during his travels. Here's hoping for a safe & happy trip for him - and a speedy return from such foreign lands!

 
 

I went walking again with Terry & Dave on 18th June, but this time we walked from Arley to Bewdley and back [having had lunch at the turnaround] so of it running along the SVR line [see photo]. But at a total walking time of 4 hours it was a tad too much for me and found the last 30 minutes hard going. I did go to the gym later but solely for the sauna and Jacuzzi - to help me get rid of my aches & pains. Poor old sole ... !! More photos are here].

 
 

I've joined a gym .. I sweat just at thought of going! Luckily they also have nice & easy sauna & Jacuzzi - those I can cope with!! But as the photo shows it's doing me good, don't you think? (*coughs)

 
 

a hos & trap in the Wyre Forst on 11th June 08It was our weekly walk again, 11th June, with an additional walker this time: David, a friend of Terry's. During the walk we saw a deer for the first time, this lovely & well maintained horse & trap [see photo - more photos are here].

 
 

I went to the Birmingham Symphony Hall on Saturday 7th July to hear 'Rutter conducts Rutter.' I'm a great John Rutter fan and this was my first opportunity to see & hear him play two of his own compositions. As the programme said: "John Rutter’s Requiem has established itself as a classic. Its melodies and atmosphere speak directly and naturally to both audiences and singers alike. Hear it tonight conducted by the composer himself, with his own Cambridge Singers, alongside his recent Mass of the Children, the New York premiere of which made him the toast of Manhattan."

 
 

Taken on our now weekly walk in Wazley Park, on Monday 2nd June 2008. At least it didn't rain this week!!

 
 

my sister Barbara AldridgeSaturday 31st May saw the 10th anniversary of the death of my belovéd sister Barbara. My mom summed it up when she wrote in the local paper's 'In Memoriam' "Ten years have passed without you but the happy memories and the love that we hold so close to our hearts will never fade."

 
 

getting soaked during our weekly walk - 29 May 08Just to prove I'm not just a fair-weather walker, this was taken [on a mobile phone] on Wednesday 29th May during my neighbour and mine's walk in the Wyre Forest - thinking the trees would protect us from the rain. Doh .. !! Soaked and wet but we stuck it out for 2˝ hours, then the cafe and the call of lunch proved too strong for us.

 
 

taken on our 1st day showing the rain pouring down the steps at Cala San Vincente, our nearby villageA splendid fortnight away in Majorca from 10th-24th May 2008. The weather was unusually mixed and the photo shows the steps @ Cala San Vincente on the day we arrived! I went with June, John & Peter H and Joy & Lynton were coincidentally 3 miles away for the same 2 weeks. We met the family of the owners of the Villa, and a surprise birthday party for me was held on 14th May. Sadly I lost my camera at Palma airport on the way home but thankfully I'd swapped memory cards on the Tuesday night so I only lost 4 day's worth of photos. To see the photos I did get click here

 
 

oh yes, the Baggies just confirmed as Championship winnersI had a superb weekend away in Torquay [2nd-4th May 08] going down with Joy & Lynton and staying  h Lynne & Ian and where we were to celebrate my birthday! The sun shone on the Saturday & we ate the obligatory Devon cream tea at Berry Head House [where the hymn 'Abide with me' was written] before being feted on the evening with presents & a great meal at L&Is. On Sunday the sun shone yet again and we explored locally - going to the Paignton 'motor cycle festival' before going back for a late Sunday lunch and then celebrating confirmation that the Baggies' were confirmed as Championship leaders and thus promoted to the Premiership. See photos here

 
 

Another walk, this time in the Wyre Forest on 30 April 08. This was taken just after we had got 'a little lost' and ended up scrambling down a steep hawthorn bush infested bank. How I still have all my limbs intact is a mystery [though my SAS survival training obviously kicked in!].

 
 

Oh yes, despite a tense last few minutes the Baggies scrapped a draw [should I be happy that we couldn't beat someone in the relegation zone? - but let's not spoil the moment, eh?!] and unless we lose our final game and Hull FC win theirs by a margin of +13 goals, we're up!!!! Let joy be unconfined ... 

 
 

A delayed card & present opening session - lunchtime @ mom's on Sunday 27th. In view of the fire regulations candles were limited to one .. a wise move me thinks. (And yes, it is a different top to the one in the photo below - I just happen to like stripes, okay!?) More photos here

 
 

I spent a few days in Manchester, hiding from my birthday, in a rather splendid city centre apartment (with concierge, no less!!) though I liked its 42" plasma screen best, which enabled me to effortlessly watch the whole season 3 set of DVDs of '24' .. !! I also (1) went to the IWM North (2) local theatre to see 'Frozen' - the story of the disappearance of a 10-year-old girl & the play follows her mother and killer over the years that follow, linked by a doctor who is studying what causes men to commit such crimes, sounds heavy but well recommended (3) the cinema to see 'Vantage Point' (4) even managed a night club .. at my age .. but to be honest, it was more a late night pub - and anyway I couldn't manage beyond midnight!! More photos here

 
 

My cherry blossom tree is in almost full bloom - but on 22nd April 08 it's the wrong time of the year .. if I know that, why doesn't nature?! Last year the bloom lasted less than a week! One strong blast of wind or one strong downpour of rain and it's gone! Oh woe, so I'll enjoy it while it lasts ...

 
 

Terry @ feeding timeI went walking with my neighbour on Wednesday 16th April, starting from the Severn Valley Park. We had in mind a pub about halfway round our walk - it was shut when we got there!! So, desperate for food to sustain us we walked to the nearest village which was Highley and which is less than 2 miles from where my sister Bev lives. She was out and the local pubs were shut [at lunchtime!!!!] and as we'd been walking for 2˝ hours we just collapsed in the Square [the only bench we could find] having bought nutritious sandwiches from the Co-op opposite. What a sight we looked! More photos here

 
 

the final leg, down The MallMy nephew Alexander is running in the London marathon today, Sunday 13th April 08 .. his first time. He is raising money for the Mental Health Foundation As I watch the TV I haven't yet been able to pick him out of the 10k crowd!! I'll let you know how he does. Note - Ali finished @ 3 hours 26 minutes & 39 seconds, and his online sponsor form (with his Paula Radcliffe 'lookalike' photo!!) can be seen here. To see the details of how he did along, and at each part of, the route of the race, click here and more photos here

 
 

Dawn & Paul just after signing the egister at Short CrossIt was my cousin Dawn's wedding on on Saturday 12th April @ 3pm at Short Cross Methodist, to Paul Acton. The reception was at the Mount Hotel, Clent. And even though it meant I had to miss the Baggies v Watford gave live on Sky Sports at 5.15pm [oh the sacrifices I make for family!!] I didn't mind, and with the result of 1-1 it wasn't a "too bad result" in the light of pothers' results ... Oh and the bride looked lovely too. More photos here

 
 

it snowed ... Sunday 6th April 08It snowed overnight between Saturday 5th & Sunday 6th April ... even my house looks pretty under 2 inches of snow!

 
 

Phillips is followed Sulley Muntari Oh well, it wasn't to be! Before the start of the game of the FA Cup semi final @ Wembley (Saturday 5th April 08) I still held faint hope -and to be honest they were faint hopes - of Albion "doing a 1931" (when we gained both promotion and the Cup) but sadly though we dominated the first half [68% of play] we couldn't capitalise on it with goals. And given the choice between Cup or promotion, it has to be the latter so with 6 games to go it's now in our own hands to achieve that. My half bottle of champagne (well I was driving!!) went back in the fridge for another day!! But we could have won that game. you know ... and I'm not biased *coughs

 
 

a surprise meeting with John taylor, a former usher colleague at Dudley Magistrates' court, who was walking the opposite way to us along the canal ... !Walking along the canal on 2nd April from the Stewpony Locks towards the locks at Swindon/Himley I bumped into John Taylor, seen here, walking the opposite direction with a group of friends. John was an usher at Dudley Magistrates' and we worked together for a number of  years. During the walk we also saw a large number of herons, a photo of which [with others] can be seen here.

 
 

I went to see 'the other Boleyn girl' on Thursday 27th March @ the Showcase Cinema - well worth a watch. But the cinema's air conditioning had stuck on in C10 so were we all frozen during the 1hr 55m film. So many people complained afterwards that we were all given an 'emergency ticket' by the manager to come and  watch another film on an other occasion "with our compliments." But it had been mightily cold!!

 
 

On our weekly walk, Terry & I went  went to Arley. The photo shows the Victoria Bridge, which spans the river Severn linking Bewdley & Arley. This bridge was the one used in the 1978 remake of 'The 39 Steps' - to see other photos of our walk around the Trimpley Reservoir click here

 
 

Mrs H's annual simnel cake ...Good Friday started with a moving service at Short Cross @ 0730 followed by the (equally) traditional Easter egg hunt and Hot Cross buns at the Hierons'. But due to hail and then snow we did, exceptionally, eat indoors!! The group photo does show how sunny it eventually got. I then went on my weekly walk this time to the Wyre Forest - to work off some of those buns!! Followed by watching the Albion v Charlton game on Sky [a disappointing 1-1 draw] and then Lee staying for a couple of nights. Not a bad day overall [pity about the footy though]. More photos here.

 
 

Torquay 16 March 08A much welcomed few days of R&R in Torquay, staying at Lynne & Ian's along with Joy & Lynton. As ever much eating, drinking, laughter & shopping [every shop we passed I think - do women have a predisposition that makes them shop??!!] and my diet was shot to pieces, but hey who cares when such delights are placed on the table before you. Bread & Water to purge & detox me now needs to follow. The Saturday-Monday soon went, but what a good sign that is!! More photos here.

 
 

Well, what a weekend of FA Cup quarter final football ... as I write this the 3 underdog-teams have each each beaten their 'betters' & gone through to the next round; and Albion are playing now!! I'm nervous and need something to do & take my mind off the pressure of watching the game!! (I'm on a much-delayed diet so can't even take solace from alcohol to sooth my nerves.) At 38 minutes we're winning 2-1 but ..... !! Whatever the final score, I'll keep this bit in ... I'll be back after the game!! Why did I worry?! A comfortable 5-1 in the end.

 
 

I suppose I could have moved the chair first ... dohIt was Mothering Sunday on 2nd March so Belinda & I, gladly doing our filial duty, went with mom to Short Cross for their morning service and then on to Bev's for lunch. 

 
 

me with mr Jim Price - after the game I went to the WBA v Plymouth game @ the Hawthorns on Saturday 1st March - a 'magnificent' win of 3-0 (eventually - dreadful first half!). I sat next to Jim Price, my former BB officer, who was celebrating his 94th birthday that day! It was announced at half time over the PA system and it was lovely to see the people around us applaud his success. This photo was taken just after the game ... more photos here!

 
 

This is Bethany on her 13th birthday [25th February 08]. One of her presents was a drum kit. There are times I am so grateful for living 3 miles away from their family!! And I do apologise for advertising anything to do with Aston Villa on this website ... !!

 
 

proud mom Shirley, with wedding boy peter himself, and his sister KirstyIt was Peter Mabbott's (my godson) wedding at Nottingham on Saturday 23rd February 08 - to Leonie Nolan. It was a lovely service, great reception & fun speeches. Photo shows mom, the groom himself and his sister Kirsty. More photos here

 
 

Pat, Joy & me on 20th February 08The 'old gang' from Short Cross met up again on Wednesday 20th February - Patricia, Joy & I turned up ... Alex was working and Deb forgot!!

 
 

During our walking on 20/2/08 we noticed parts of the canal were still frozen - it was so funny watching the birds trying to land and sliding everywhere; or them 'walking on water' as seen here.

 
 

Auntie May was 98 today [19th Feb 08] a fantastic achievement by any standard, and of course the family went to help her celebrate ... more photos here.

 
 

Pete & me over a gloriously sunny Clent (with bacon sandwiches!!) on Tuesday 12th February 08 It was such a sunny and warm day [for February!] that when Peter phoned me from Clent Hills on Tuesday 12th saying 'come up for tea & a bacon sandwich' I did .... more photos [no walking involved - just food!!] here

 
 

Queen Mary, University of LondonHaving only seen Alexander a few days ago at his office @ Ofcom, he's heard today (8th February 08) that he's been accepted for post-grad medical training as a doctor at St Mary College, part of the University of London. Always was one of his ambitions, so well done Ali ... !!

 
 

Bev & Ali - taken from the top floor of the Ofcom building [6 feb 08]After the excitement of the Commons' tour et al [see below] Bev & I then went on to see my nephew Alexander who works at Ofcom as it was only a few stops away by tube. The office is in a beautiful spot on the edge of the Thames and has a lovely view of St Paul's cathedral. More photos here.

 
 

Bev & me on our way TO our visit to the Commons - Wednesday 6th Feb 08A tour of the House of Commons, tickets to watch PMQs and then lunch with my MP, Lynda Waltho, in "Strangers' Restaurant" was all part of what Lynda had put together to help make our visit on Wednesday 6th February 2008 special. Sadly, we weren't allowed to take any photos anywhere except in the precincts of Westminster Hall.  Those few we did take can be seen here.

 
 

A meal at Paul & Deb's on the Saturday night [2nd Feb 08) was a lovely end to a good day ... a diet has to be on my agenda soon, i know! Soon but not yet ... !! More photos here.

 
 

a memorial to a now defunct Army regiment .... !It was a glorious day on Thursday 31st January [as you see from the photo] so we went for a walk over the Lickey Hills, absolutely superb!! It must be 15 years since I last went there. And at the end a bacon sandwich to boot [no pun intended]!! More photos here.

 
 

I went to Bewdley on Wednesday 23rd January for another walk, only to find the path we were to follow is under water!! We did find high ground to stroll over but took this photo outside the pub where we had lunch - showing quite clearly the flood defences in place and the river so high it's half way up the bridge; and the speed of the flow had to be seen to be believed! More photos here.

 
 

More walking, this time over a sodden Clent & Walton [17 Jan 08]. And we managed to get ourselves 'a little lost' - and this is over home territory, how can that be!! And as a result, with Terry having an early afternoon appointment, we didn't even have time for the famous 'National Trust - Nimmins Road' sausage & bacon sandwich!!

 
 

Tuesday 15th January 08 saw the FA Cup replay with Charlton at the Hawthorns. With 2 friends I went to see the game, having got soaked in the walk to the ground. Despite a 2-0 lead at one time, we were still forced into extra time and then, oh joy , penalties!! At least the cold & wet was worth it when we came out victors as 4-3 in the shootout!!

 
 

photoshop CS3I've started college again, this time doing a course on how to use Adobe Photoshop CS3, which I have but find difficult to use - despite buying and trying to use two 'Dummies' books off eBay. I thought 'Dummies' summed me up totally when it came to CS3. All I can say after my first week is, 'wait and see' if the college course fee was worth it!!  

 
 

himley hallMore walking, and boy do I need to!! I went with my neighbour Terry to Himley Hall Park and did about 2 hours of effort - followed by a well deserved sausage sandwich at the cafe at the end of the walk!!! More calories ... ! More photos here.

 
 

Having been at Katie's birthday yesterday, Sunday 6th January 08 saw my sister Bev's **th birthday - would I dare tell?! So yet another birthday-bash ensued with calories galore on offer. When will the diet start? More photos here.

 
 

It was Katie's 20th birthday on Saturday 5th January - we gathered as usual ... whether she wanted it or not!! More photos here.

 
 

Our weekly walks started again on Wednesday 2nd January 08 ... much needed after the (over) indulgences of Christmas! We went to the Wyre Forest.

 

 
 
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