A Family Centenary celebration coming up next weekend.

“Live your life and forget your age” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

A week this Sunday, hubby’s Mom in England will celebrate her 100th birthday, and all the family will be there cheering her on at her party for 140 people at the village hall. She’s always as bright as a button, and I’ve never heard her complain about getting old; in fact her age is a source of pride, and she’s so looking forward to getting the Queen’s telegram. Last week the woman in the cake shop, was very surprised when this sprightly woman walked in to order her own 100th birthday cake.  She has lived on her own, in her double storey, three-bedroom house since she was widowed twenty years ago, and does all her own cooking, with friends often calling in to have tea with her. Her favourite pastime is playing scrabble on the computer, and she is a daunting opponent in the competitions she takes part in. She bakes really delicious cakes, and until a few years ago, used to enter them in local competitions and often win first prize. For her 90th birthday, she baked and decorated a delicious Pavlova, and dozens of friends and relatives came to her party.

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Five years ago, she and my Mom accompanied hubby and I on a trip to the USA to visit our son and family. These two old ladies, were so excited and cheerful on the flight over from England. It was such an adventure for them both; the first time they’d been to America.

They walked their legs off all around New York city, taking in the sights and sounds and never complaining of being tired. The two of them shopped up a storm at Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Banana Republic.

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and posed for photos in Times Square.

We took the ferry across to Ellis Island where the new immigrants to the USA used to be processed, and then we were off to see the Statue of Liberty. What a thrill that was for them both.

A two-hour car journey took us down to Washington, where we stayed for a couple of days, going to see the White House, the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials and other historical sites. Once again, the two of them put their best feet forward and enjoyed every minute. They were like excited teenagers, and it was such a joy to be with them.

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The reason I’m telling you all this is that it’s my birthday on Sunday, and every birthday that comes around I remember how I sobbed my heart out at my 21st party, because I would never be young again. Hubby had to take me for a walk around the block to calm me down. What a silly young thing I must have been, with not a thought in my head for all the wonderful years still to come. I suppose I must have believed then that youth was the most important thing in life, but I was so wrong. Life experience is worth far more than transient youthfulness. The years since my 21st have been full of wonderful achievements with the addition to our family of two precious children and five gorgeous grandchildren. Talents which as a youngster I didn’t realise the value of, have been polished and used. I’ve watched with pride as my children grew up into responsible, successful and happy adults. Many people have come in and out of my life and taught me valuable lessons in the process. I’ve learned to be more caring for others’ needs and wants and have also experienced the love and selflessness of my family and friends towards me. It’s only as one grows older and hopefully wiser that one appreciates the benefits of not being young any more. Speaking for myself, I’m so grateful for the lessons learned over the years, and wouldn’t trade my life experience for the youth I had then.

It’s been said that “Life begins at forty,” but I believe that life begins every morning when you wake up, however old you are. You may have a job to go to; embrace it and be the best you can be. You may have children to care for; give this task the best you’ve got. A happy childhood is one of the most precious gifts that parents have in their power to bestow. Maybe you have a talent which needs a little nurturing to bring it to the fore; give yourself the chance to shine and let others have the benefit of it too. If you are already old, then share the wisdom of your years with those younger and less experienced than yourself. Life teaches us lessons for a purpose, and we can often find someone who can benefit from what we have learned. Aging isn’t something to be feared. As Gloria Pitzer, an American TV personality once said, “About the only thing that comes to us without effort is old age.” We can either plan for it by keeping ourselves healthy and fit and being wise with our financial planning for our old age, or we can just let it creep upon us unawares and give us a big fright when we suddenly realise that it’s too late to do anything about it.

Every day is a gift to us and whether we’re young, middle-aged or downright over the hill, we can always “Seize the day” and run with it. Well maybe not literally run, but you know what I mean. When you’re young, live your life as though there IS a tomorrow, so that when you’re old, you can live as though there’s NO tomorrow.

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Thoughts on Mom’s 88th birthday

Thank you so much to all of you who left messages of congratulations to my mom on her 88th birthday.  I read each and every one to her, as well as the Facebook messages. She said, “How very kind people are. Tell them I really appreciate their wishes.”

On Thursday, hubby and I went to fetch her here for the weekend, and met my sister for lunch. Those of you who read about the “elusive turquoise top” which I was trying in vain to find for her birthday which is today, may be amused to know that we walked into a boutique at the centre where we went for lunch, and found the perfect one, and it wasn’t turquoise at all, but a mélange of soft greys. It waved to sister, almost as soon as we walked in the door. Crisis averted. 🙂

That evening, just as I was about to start preparing supper, the door bell rang and there was a courier with a cardboard box addressed to mom. She was beside herself with excitement, never having had a couriered parcel before in her whole long life. It was from my daughter in Johannesburg, and contained  yummy chocolate goodies. Her thoughtfulness really made mom’s day complete.

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On Friday, we took mom down to the bench at the top of our beach steps, and there we sat for quite a long while, watching the waves and the ships. It was a very special time for both of us.

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We weren’t the only ones enjoying the sea air.

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Saturday morning was my day for playing piano again at the mall, so hubby brought mom along to listen, and then we went for a tasty lunch and a bit of shopping. Helping mom to negotiate her way through the crowds of shoppers, I couldn’t help keenly feeling the reversal of roles. I remember when I was a child, having to run to keep up with her as she strode along the street, walking the mile or so into the town because it was “quicker than waiting for the bus.” “Step it out, you’ve got long legs.” she used to say to me. Now I hold her arm protectively, as she’s not too steady on her feet, and I’m afraid she might get bumped by some passing stranger who doesn’t know how special she is. I know it comes to all of us who are fortunate enough to have elderly parents, but I can’t help feeling a twinge of heartache as I see how frail she is. I’m so glad that something which hasn’t changed over the years, is her sense of humour. When we’re together, the smiles and laughter come thick and fast. She sees the funny side of everything, and I’ve inherited this sometimes embarrassing trait. My sister is the same, but even worse, and when the three of us get together, you might be forgiven for assuming that we’ve been let out for the day from some institution for the insanely comical. I’ve also passed this gene on to my daughter, and our long-suffering husbands have  just had to learn to live with it, bless them. 🙂

On Sunday, mom’s birthday dawned bright and sunny, and as usual I took her tea in bed. There she lay, her slight form hardly making a bump under the bedclothes, and I couldn’t help joking. “Happy birthday mom. You’re two fat ladies today!” She replied with a laugh, “That’s exactly what I was thinking when I woke up and realised that I’m 88 today. She had Facebook messages from family overseas, my daughter and granddaughter phoned from Johannesburg, and my sister and her husband phoned from Lesotho where they are spending a few days in freezing cold temperatures. Hubby’s 99-year-old mom in England also spent a good half hour chatting to us all. I then made a really nice lunch, and one thing I will say is that mom has a great appetite for her size.

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Just before I served our sticky toffee pudding, we had a Skype call from our son and family in New Jersey, and mom was so thrilled to see her grandson and his three gorgeous children. Little Taylor was also celebrating her 4th birthday, and Sienna kept jumping down off her dad’s lap to show us how she can do cartwheels. Two-year-old Max came to say “Hi” and then he was off on his own mission. Isn’t Skype just the best thing since sliced bread?

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Now mom is back home in her little cottage, and I’m sure her neighbours were glad to see her back. They all love her to bits, and gathered together to see her off on Thursday, and wish her a very happy weekend, which I know she had. That’s another thing about my mom. She never takes anything for granted, and is always so grateful for each little thing and every act of kindness. My darling mom, may you live to enjoy many more years.

Jake’s Sunday Post: Mothers’ Day

What a super Mothers’ Day I had, even though I didn’t see either of my two children, who live, one in Johannesburg and the other in New Jersey. After heavy rain on Friday night and all day Saturday, Sunday dawned with lovely sunshine, so hubby and I were out of the house at 7am for a walk along the beach front.

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There weren’t too many people out at that time, only a few dog-walkers, and I smiled as a young mom in running shorts, raced past us on the path, pushing her baby in a stroller. I wondered if she’d thoughtfully left her man to have a lie-in on her special day. 😕 I could smell delicious breakfast aromas coming from some of the hotel restaurants, and of course this made me rather hungry. We passed the Surf Lifesaving Club which serves delicious breakfasts, but it didn’t open until 8-o-clock, so we decided that we’d pop in on our way back.

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We walked right to the end of the promenade, and once again, someone was sitting on our bench, so we just paused for a couple of minutes, watching a collection of dogs and their owners, having fun on the beach, before heading back.

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By this time, there were more people out for a stroll, and when we entered the restaurant, there were a few diners who’d had the same idea. A glass of fresh orange juice went down very well whilst we waited for our smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on rye. It was so delicious and only cost R39 which for my US readers, is the equivalent of $4.50. What a bargain!

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Then it was back home, stopping along the way to chat to a few friends. This time, we didn’t take the path up to the village, as we had to get home in case our daughter phoned.

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As you can see, we mostly had the path towards the lighthouse, all to ourselves.

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After a lovely long conversation with our daughter, we put the finishing touches to the lemon cheesecake which I’d made for dessert, and then it was off up the hill to my sister’s house.

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Lunch was a delicious Lasagne with fresh salad from my sister’s garden There were three of us moms there, and my lovely niece was also able to join us.

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The huge tree in their garden is yielding an abundance of delicious avocados, and every time we visit, we’re given a whole week’s worth to bring home. Brother-in-law was wielding the extra long handled pruning shears, and hubby was playing catch underneath. 🙂

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In the afternoon, our son called from New York, and I not only got to speak to him, but also the grandchildren, who enthusiastically wished me “Happy Mothers’ Day granny.” Their little voices are so precious to hear.

Later, back at home, I revelled in the wonderful perfume of the abundance of flowers which came my way with lots of love from hubby and my children. Can you imagine the smell of these lilies? I have so many in my beautiful bouquet, as well as a plant pot containing four more.

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I also have masses of white gladioli and lovely pink roses,

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as well as gorgeous red ones,

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and delicious candy. I was very spoilt, but I’m not complaining at all. Would you? 🙂

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So, that was my Mothers’ Day. How very blessed I am.

To see more contributions to Jake’s theme, just click here.

 

 

 

 

 

My firstborn… Happy Birthday

Tomorrow is a very special day. April 7th is when my precious baby girl was born. I was quite overwhelmed with this new little life which was entrusted into my care. What a sweet baby she was.

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She’s grown into a beautiful woman, and I’m so proud of her. Our two men were both taking photos at the same time, so she’s looking at her husband, and I’m looking at mine. 🙂

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It was a fun evening, and we hardly stopped chatting and laughing, but did manage to eat our delicious meal in between. It was so great to see our two oldest grandchildren again.

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The weather is absolutely sparkling, and today we’re going to see The ‘Body Worlds’ exhibition at a museum in Johannesburg, and then out for an Indian meal tonight. Tomorrow is Mandy’s birthday, so more celebrations, with another dinner, and tickets to see ‘Jersey Boys’ at Monte Casino. I’m so looking forward to the show as I’ve heard many good things about it. ¸.•*¨*•.♪♫♫♪Happy Birthday to my wonderful daughter.♪♫•*¨*•.♥˜”*°•.˜”*°•.˜”*°•.★★.•°*”˜.•°*”˜.•°*”˜”

The internet here is not good at all, so I’ll be absent from your posts for a while. I’ll catch up as soon as I can. Miss me, and be sure to have a lovely weekend.  🙂

Diners and a bunny, on display

Ailsa’s travel challenge, “On display,” could be interpreted in many ways, and when we arrived at the restaurant on Friday night, I thought how these diners inside were really on display, to the passersby.

The decor inside was really lovely, with beautiful artworks displayed on the walls.

The wine we ordered, was from a local Sussex vineyard, and was extremely good.

My sister-in-law and I had a great catch-up on all our news.

The food was absolutely ‘to die for’, and when it came to dessert, the maitre d’ told us of a speciality of the house, which they called “Dragons’ Whiskers.” He explained it as banana, split in two and sandwiched with red bean paste, covered in angel hair noodles, and deep-fried, a bit like the Greek ‘Kataifi’. I wasn’t too sure about the red bean paste, but he made it sound so delicious, that we all ordered it. It  came with delicious vanilla ice cream and strawberry coulis, and every mouthful was an absolute delight.

Earlier in the evening, we had been at SiL’s house for a glass of wine and a chat. She showed us a little concertina which someone had given her. it was really just to display as an ornament, but she found that it would actually play. When she started to make really weird noises with it, Luca her gorgeous black poodle, decided to sing along. It was hilarious.

Something else we saw on display in the garden, earlier in the day, was this cute little bunny rabbit,

More family are due to arrive for lunch at any moment, so I’d better go and put the cream, raspberry and kiwi fruit topping on my cheesecake. Have a great Sunday, everyone., and don’t forget to check out other entries for the theme.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far

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Here are my photos for this week’s ‘Near and Far’ WordPress Photo Challenge. The first was taken from our colourful long-tail boat, as we were ferried around the ‘Khlongs’ in Bangkok. This one was taken from the Moorish castle which … Continue reading

Family visit to see the lions.

Today, I thought I’d show you a few photos from our time in Johannesburg with our daughter, son and three of the grandchildren, but firstly, I must tell you my tale.

We did the seven hour drive from our home in Durban and it was uneventful, except for a few very tense moments after we’d been going for about an hour. We were on the motorway, travelling at about 100kmph, when Sienna asked for her Barbie blanket which was on the floor in the front of the car with her dad. He passed it over, and it was put on top of her doll which lay between us on the seat. A short while later, Sienna said that she was cold, so I picked up the blanket to cover her, and there in the doll’s long blonde hair, was what looked like a very large cricket. We both sat mesmerised by this thing, hardly daring to breathe.

It was so shiny and very still, that we both thought, at least we hoped, that it was one of those plastic trick insects….until it moved ever so slightly. Oh horrors! I wanted to scream blue murder, but daren’t distract hubby who was driving, so I just said, “Jeff” in a very small voice, and thankfully he heard me and turned around. He too was horrified, but knew he had to be the hero, so he reached to pick up hubby’s jacket which was between the seats. I suddenly had visions of squashed cricket all over the only jacket he had brought with him, and remembered having stuffed a handful of tissues into my bag, on my way out of the house, just in case we needed them. I carefully extracted a few, still without breathing, and passed them over. My son knew that he had to get this operation right the first time, as there would be absolute bedlam in the car if that cricket starting leaping around. Thankfully, he aimed right, as he desperately made a grab for it. Result, one squashed cricket, and two females who could breathe again. Now I’m sure that some of you brave readers would, without a second thought, have simply picked it up and nonchalantly tossed it out of the window. Right?? 😆

Here are a few photos of more pleasant creatures, taken when we visited the Lion Park on the Sunday.

The white lion cubs were too adorable,

and we all had a turn at petting them.

We then went for a drive to see the adult lions, who were just ambling around right next to the cars. We were of course, told to stay in the car with the windows closed.

It was almost feeding time, and when the meat truck arrived, there was a mad stampede to get there first.

The hyenas also got their share, but this one didn’t want to share with this hungry-looking bird. It looks like a type of crow, but maybe bulldogsturf  the bird expert, can please enlighten me as to what it actually is.

The giraffe feeding platform puts you at eye level with these docile creatures. We bought a bag of food pellets, and waited our turn.

I love this close-up taken by my son. “Hellooooo.”

We spotted this cheetah lying, rather well camouflaged, in the shade of a tree.

We also saw ostriches,

and a gorgeous family of meerkats. This photo is especially for Colonialist   who is rather partial to these little creatures. 🙂 This is the lookout, and we waited around for ages hoping he would stand up in that typical meerkat pose. When he eventually did, he was quivering so much that the photo was very blurry. 😦

It really was a great family day, and tomorrow I’ll show you a few more pics of our time together.

Weekly photo challenge “Friendship.”

“A friend is one who knows you, and loves you just the same.”  ~ Elbert Hubbard

The daily post photo challenge, is “Friendship,” so I decided to put up a few photos of me with my best friends.

Hubby and I are still the best of friends, even after over 40 years of marriage. This pic was taken on our 40th anniversary.

I’m so fortunate that both my children are really good friends to me. I sometimes hear of families where the children become estranged from their parents. This is really sad, and I just can’t imagine what this must be like, as my daughter and I get on so well together.

and my son and I are also very close, even though we live so far apart most of the time.

I’m sure that every woman needs a BEST friend, and here am I with mine at her 60th birthday party. We’ve been friends for only ten years, but it seems like a lifetime. She is like a second sister to me. 😉

I know that over the course of our lives, friends come and go, and this has also happened to me. When I think back to friends I’ve had over the years, I realise that certain friends are sent for a particular time in one’s life. I know that those I’ve had and somehow drifted apart from, will always be in my heart, even though they are no longer in my every day life. They are all a beautiful part of life’s tapestry that we constantly weave whilst we are here on this earth.

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” Albert Camus