the early birthday bash!

Given that someone decided to have a baby the week of Grandad’s actual birthday we cheated and pulled off an early celebration for his 90th a couple of months ahead of time ;)
Once we were all in the same country we headed up to Rushton Hall to meet up and share a fabulous celebratory meal. The Hall is gorgeous and has quite a history as you can see below. If the name Tresham rings a bell it’s because he was famous for being involved in the Gunpowder Plot ( Guy Fawkes and all that ) which was mostly hatched in the Triangular Lodge!


‘Rushton Hall is charmingly situated upon a gentle eminence which rises from the Ise, a small stream waters the park’.

Excerpt taken from Northampton County Magazine February 1929, also describing Rushton Hall as a fine and Princely residence.

Rushton is a magnificent structure, built mainly in local stone. It was commenced by Sir John Tresham and his family around 1438 who through generations, owned the hall for nearly 200 years, and was later enlarged and embellished by the Cockayne family around 1630.

With its imposing and graceful appearance, Rushton Hall is entered through heavy timber doors. A stone figure of Plenty sits above whilst either side of the entrance is a carved armed knight.

The hall’s interior is magnificent. Reformed throughout history, it is of grand style. Huge stone and timber fireplaces adorn virtually every room, whilst ornate plasterwork and wonderful stained glass can be found in the Great Hall, Drawing Room, Dining Room Library, and numerous other rooms.

Sir Thomas Tresham created the Oratory which houses the precious plaster representation of Passion, dated 1577. It was removed from St Peters Church, which once stood in the grounds of the hall.

Quiet and secluded, the famous Triangular Lodge built by Sir Thomas Tresham around 1590 was an inspired architectural achievement, with virtually all features set in threes. It is now owned and protected by English Heritage.

William Williams Hope from Amsterdam purchased Rushton Hall in 1828 for the princely sum of £140,000. He spent huge amounts of money on the hall, ‘for the purpose of fitting it up in the French fashion’ and resided at the hall in the shooting seasons only. It is said that the famous Hope diamond was stored here during his ownership. Upon his death, Miss Clara Thornhill paid £165,000. A year later she married William Capel Clarke and in 1856 both took the name Clarke-Thornhill.

Charles Dickens became a great friend of Clara Thornhill, and over the years visited Rushton many times. He conceived the idea of Haversham Hall for his novel Great Expectations whilst at Rushton.The Clarke-Thornhill family owned the hall until 1934, but after the death of William Clarke-Thornhill, the Hall was let to an array of lodgers including JJ Van Alen who loved the hall so much, he reinstated many Tudor and Jacobean architectural details at great expense.

The RNIB opened the hall as a school in 1957 and sold it in 2003 to H I Limited, a privately owned family business, committed to maintaining Rushton for future generations.

The ‘Hellos’ and ‘Happy Birthdays’ ;)

I have no idea what is going on in this picture!
but does my mother look ready to party in this one or what?!
Oh excuse me, it wasn’t just my mother! ;)

and here we all are with our fabulous food

and then of course there was the birthday cake and the petit fours

and some time to enjoy our surroundings





Good Early Birthday Dad – hope you had fun! ;)

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ran out of excuses…..

OK it’s raining, it’s cooler and David is already on his way back to Europe so I have no more excuses (that I can think of!) for not getting some of these pictures from our trip up online.
Although as a family we flew in on 3 different flights we did end up in the same places, just not necessarily at the same times.
Here’s David heading to Heathrow with meIMG_0826
and here are the girls having just arrived there (Rich is taking the picture!) an hour apart and been met by their very excellent Uncle Dino. IMG_0146
The first stop for all of us was in the Cotswolds – gorgeous at anytime of year. Here we are ‘drinking through’ our jet lag at Nic’s IMG_0827

and then we all got to enjoy the nearby village of Minster Lovell IMG_0220





before heading up to Northamptonshire for the big birthday shindig. Those pictures tomorrow! ;)

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more deck time ;)

Sitting outside on the deck reading does it for me when we’re treated to Spring days this gorgeous but apparently others of us feel the need to pressure wash and then repaint things… can you tell that’s what he’s doing?? ;)
I supervised some replanting of the pots on the top deck this morning and then got a couple of miles in after lunch. Word has it that the pod of orcas that went south earlier today might be heading back North before our blissfully late sunset so I’ll be keeping an eye out for them. Since our spring sunshine gave David plenty to do outside today that meant that I got chance to finish getting the rest of our England photos off his computer. Of course it’s too nice for me to stay inside and post them but the rain might be back by tomorrow night so I’ll get around to it soon enough, promise ;)

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timing is everything…… in so many ways! ;)

So there are many things to deal with when you travel with a disability and you just have to plan as well as you can and accept that things won’t go quite as normal while you’re away. Having a husband who travels with me and can lift me up makes many things possible but it’s just a given that you don’t get to move as much as you do at home. Getting in and out of strange cars and beds and showers and obviously on and off different toilets all require help because you’re usually not there long enough to learn how to adapt and do it by yourself. This means that for me I end up doing a lot less physical stuff than normal and that shows up in so many ways – increased spasticity, more clonus (shaking) and much less muscle control. It’s all so worth it (look at the picture – Spring in the Cotswolds is fabulous!!) to get to go places and see people and I just am used to it taking a while to get back to ‘normal’ (ha!) when I get home again. My digestive system slows down just like everything else though and you do the best you can but I couldn’t stop laughing when this turned up in my inbox this morning! ;)

Improved Bowel Function for Wheelchair Users.

So now own up – who has CCTV in my bathroom????! ;)

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I’m back!

I was gone for 9 days, spent all of them in England and look at all the stuff I brought back….
Hey, marmalade and Marmite….. what else is there??! OK so yes, I should have got a bottle of TCP too, but I have to have some excuse to go again, right?! ;)
We only managed these 2 things because one of our hotels happened to be next to a supermarket and that’s OK because it was a pretty quick visit and we spent all of our time with close family and good friends for good reason. We had direct flights which were great and today we arrived home to lots of sunshine and in plenty of time for Happy Hour.
Theoretically that means I’ll be back on our time zone tomorrow, right?? ;)

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attitude, amusement and I should have seen that coming ;)

I liked this article that someone in our family shared on Facebook today –

The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window. “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

“Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room …. just wait.”

“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.”

She went on to explain, “Old age is like a bank account, you withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing.”

And with a smile, she said: “Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less

a nice example of the right attitude to life I thought ;)

….and then when I went to the site it was from – 2dayFM I think, to check its legitimacy I got sidetracked laughing when I saw this picture on there – 10150577_753457691354145_652082383_n because, let’s face it – this is a great idea! A few of my friends and family immediately sprang to mind who would love to get this as a birthday present. Too bad yours is already past Terry and I won’t be around next weekend for yours Barb but if you show this picture to your kids I bet one of them will be able to make it for you! ;)
In the meantime I am finally thinking about getting packed for my few days away and this morning I was getting in what I had planned would be my last bike trainer workout before my trip. I had about 10 minutes to go and it was feeling pretty good so I began to wonder if maybe I shouldn’t squeeze in just one more before breakfast tomorrow since I don’t have to leave until the afternoon. It was still just a thought and then David walked past after I’d finished to ask how it went and I said “pretty good which is nice since I’ll miss it for a few days”. To which of course he said “well you have time for another workout tomorrow before you go you know”.
No excuse now, huh?!
So…… you all know what I’ll be doing before breakfast tomorrow!

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Springtime settles in….

Well there is still plenty of snow on the Olympics but it is beginning to feel much more springlike down here so my incognito gardener is busy planting new pots IMG_0798
and bringing my enkianthus up to the top deck before it blooms
IMG_0794 so I hope the flowers haven’t come and gone before I get back from a quick April vacation because I already know I’m going to miss my serviceberries entire blooming season this year ;(DSCN5134
I’m hoping that when I get back here it will have quit raining quite so much and that my happy hours will be moving outside a little more often. It was just a bit too windy today but sunny enough to break out the white wine instead of red – always a good sign ;)

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a question of balance

And no, this has nothing to do with balance and MS because we all know that I have absolutely none left – that went years ago! ;)
My beloved was amusing himself on the shore at Cormorant Cove Park as he waited for me to wander homewards yesterday afternoon…
IMG_0782 - Version 2
and this was his addition to the little collection of balanced rocks there -
not the whole thing…… just the little oh so artistic black rock on the top, hahaha ;)

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All weather friends!

Well Monday’s gorgeous deckworthy weather did not last for very long as you can see.

Fortunately my friends and I are very adaptable…..and of course, the cocktail bar at Nordstrom’s is inside, which helps!
Sunshine and warmth are really nice, but close friendships that span the years are even better ;)

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Sunny Shanghai ;)

David has been in Shanghai a lot lately but this past weekend he was lucky to be there at the same time as some nice, sunny weather. Clearly it wasn’t just him out and about making the most of it!



The point of all the umbrellas and the signs flummoxed him until he got someone to translate for him. Turns out that this is pretty much Shanghai’s version of! ;)




All this and flowers too!


Yep, spring in Shanghai looks pretty good to me ;)

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