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Me and My Brother

Well my little brother is finally getting married.  I’m so pleased for him.  He has chosen a goodun in Becky!!

Growing up Paul and I used to fight like cat and dog…can’t remember when we didn’t fight.  We did have some good times, but we certainly get on better now.  I know I can call on my little brother if I need help, usually techy help admittedly, although I can manage pretty well on my own!

It’s nice when he and Becky pop in to see me on the odd occasional Saturday night and we munch through a couple of pizzas :-)

It’s amazing how we keep in touch too, started off with the odd occasional phone call, then onto texts, msn and facebook and now twitter, technology has certainly brought us closer together.

And I know he’ll not be too happy about the pic, but look how cute he was when he was little :-)

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Everest for Emily

A good friends daughter is going to be climbing to Mount Everest Base Camp in September for the charity Childreach International.   This very worthy charity works with
local communities in the developing world to help improve children’s access to healthcare, education, child rights and protection.

Emily  needs to raise the minimum of £2450 to go on the expedition, but would like to raise as much as she can. If any of you that read this post would like to contribute to  Emily’s adventure and to help Childreach International please click on this link.  Any amount can help and I know that Emily and the children that she is trying to help will be very grateful.

Thanks for reading.

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Why’s it so hard?

As some of my friends will know I am trying to downsize.  Yes, I live in Social Housing, due to previous and present circumstances.  I cannot afford private housing or to purchase my own place. I wish I could but sometimes life throws things at you that you can’t get out of.

Anyway this is just a post really about how difficult it is to downsize.  I have been on the Homeswapper site for 6 years since hubby and I split and have had no luck.  I just want a 1 bed place, ideally 2 but that wouldn’t be right as it’s just me.  I have now found a 1 bed place but the chap wants to move to Devon due to personal circumstances.  It looks like someone has a place for him, but they are relying on someone else and then I need to try find someone that wants to move to mine…following this ok?  That’s the problem, not all homeswaps are straight forward.  I thought the Government were supposed to be making things easy for people that want to downsize?  I am not seeing any help.

As it is I can’t move until ex is taken off the tenancy, I have no idea where he is and don’t really care.  There appears only to be the homeswapper site or I sign up to the waiting list and fight it out with the many thousands that are trying to get housing.

Why can’t the Government pull their finger out and help the people that want to give up space to let larger families have what they need?  My feelings are that the Councils need to take back control of  housing and ensure that people are filling the homes properly as the homeswapper site, as good as it is is not being used correctly.  Too many people wanting to go into something larger when they don’t need it.

For those that poo poo people in Social Housing, yes there is a stigma, but gone are the days of cheap rent.  Most of us cherish what we have and work hard to keep it up together.

So anyone from Government that reads this, please sort out this little problem as I would imagine that this would help lots of people out if Common Sense was used.

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Canada…but not F1 related (Part 1)

1986 aged 21 and I got married for the 1st time to a man 19 years older than me the day after my 21st birthday.  I’d taken on 2 step children who were 5 and 9 years younger than me after their mum passed away from cancer.  We were given a council house in Ferndown.  Youngest came to live with us and the eldest with his Aunty, however a few months and eldest moved in too.  Bit fraught at times but we got through it.  We decided that we would like to go to Canada to go and visit husbands releatives.  We headed off in September 87.  We initially went out for a month but ended up staying for just over 2 years, and what a 2 years that was :-0

Eldest stayed at home and youngest came with us.  We headed off on a BA flight to Vancouver and were met by relatives who then took us back up the highway past lots of mountains and just beautiful, beautiful scenery. We stopped at a diner for breakfast and I had the best hash browns ever, not sure about the bacon, just streaky bacon.  Pancakes with maple syrup, mmm scrummy! We stayed with husbands releatives on a remote ranch about 450 miles north of Vancouver.  The drive from the main road and along a dirt track to the ranch was about 4 miles.  Middle of nowhere, no mains electric, no mains water, no mains gas…we’ve gone back to  the olden days :-0  Beautiful scenery, a lake, hills, trees and wildlife. Spent a few days wandering the ranch, horse riding and travelling into Williams Lake which was the nearest town.  A few trips to a proper cowboy pub, yep, cowboy hats, checked shirts and jeans.  Good ol country music and lots of dancing. We went into Williams Lake to the shopping Mall, hadn’t encountered a Food Hall before, oh my…A&W their burgers and onion rings, yum.  A little place that sold Cinnamon Buns and a proper sit down diner that did Eggs Benedict to perfection.  Another diner down the road that did a wonderful Banana Creme Pie…heaven!!  My first encounter with flavoured cider…peach was my favourite.

Took a trip to Vancouver and stayed with more relatives.  Beautiful city, surrounded by mountains and so many different cultures.  I’d not really been to London or any other big city where everything was so vibrant and different.

After a couple of weeks we came back to the ranch and met a rancher who lived down the road, well 10 miles down the road…offered us work, a home and said a lawyer would be able to sort out immigration. So we phoned home, said we were staying and started our new life in Canada.

To be continued…..

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Silverstone Blancpain 3/06/2012

Last minute decision to go to Silverstone to watch the Silverstone round of the Blanpain Championship led to me leaving home about 8am.  Dry when I left home, but got onto the A303 and rain. Luckily the roads were fairly empty. Had arranged to meet a friend at Cherwell Valley Services about 9.30, got there bang on time!! Quick pit stop and picked up a few bits for lunch and headed off to a wet and cold Silverstone.  Not having booked tickets we were directed to what seemed the furthest car park. Bit daft really considering there was hardly anyone there and they could have let you in the circuit to park up.  Anyway we found the ticket booth and away we went.  Walked through to the paddock and had a wander round the cars…only 3 races on the Sunday and a few people with their own sooper dooper cars allowed on the track.

Lambourghinis galore…ugly boogers, but the sound from them is pretty awesome :-)

Went past the United Autosports VIP area and saw Mark Blundell chatting away before the race. 

Walked through to the pits and onto the pitlane, wandered up and peeked into a few garages…awesome cars!!

Made our way over to the stands ready for the start, about 50 cars getting ready to line up for a very rainy start.  

12.45pm and the cars are off…Safety Car start as it’s still pretty wet out there.  2 laps in and the Safety Car comes in and away they goooooo :-)

One thing wrong with this event was there was no live timing or screens set up.  Makes a difference when you can see what’s going on in other parts of the circuit as you certainly can’t hear the tannoys.

Anyway the BMW came storming round with quite a good lead already…Race Leader at start of race

Stayed in the stands for about hour and half. 2 BMW’s fighting it out for a couple of laps and finally the No.3 got past. Very cold and wet, rain had eased but we were getting a bit wet from the spray on the track…headed off down to get a hot drink and use the loos…argghhh what a sight, blue lips, blue chin and teeth wouldn’t stop chattering…just wanted to go home and get nice and warm…however after a hot drink a few chips we decided to have a wander over to the Wing and watch the cars come through there.  Some pretty good moves around some of the corners, raining again but not long now until the end of the race so wandered over to Luffield to watch the last 20 minutes.  The cars looked very slow going through there, although they probably weren’t.  BMW no 3 was the winner with Audi’s 2 and 1 coming in 2nd and 3rd.

Headed back to the cars and off home, yep you guessed it, pouting with rain and so many cars without lights on.

An enjoyable day, apart from the cold and wet!!

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F1 Season is nearly here

Not too sure where the last month has gone.  Started off with a bad back after slipping on the ice, just get over that and end end up with a fluey cold, which finally after 4 weeks is just about at it’s end.

Busy making cards for Valentines Day….soppy people at work wanted them and I may have sent one myself!  I’ve also had to make some wedding invitations for my neighbours who are getting married in April, I think I’ve become their wedding planner…J Lo I am not, although I appear to be getting her bottom ;-) Mother’s Day is nearly here so I need to get a wiggle on and make more cards, also brothers birthday in a few days time.

However March 16th heralds the start of the new Formula 1 season…I CAN’T WAIT :-D

After the practices in Spain I have no idea who’s going to come out on top, I do know there are some ugly noses on those cars though…time will tell if they do anything.  As long as the Frome Flyer aka Jenson Button becomes World Driver Champion for 2012 I shall be one happy bunny!!  So will I be up for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Practice, Quali and the race…too bloomin right I will be.  My Twitter feed will be absolutely chocker block during those times and I wont be able to keep up and watch everything.  I’ve now got a V+ box, so I can now record the races and watch again when there isn’t anything on the goggle box!!

In more racing news my workmate Rob Hedley has got his drive in BTCC with Thorney Motorsport, I am so excited for him and will hopefully get to a couple of the races this season to cheer him on. I’m hoping that he’s going to be testing at Thruxton in the next week or so, I shall definately try and get over there to watch.

I’m off to see Lord Drayson at his factory in April with work, really looking forward to that.  It will be interesting as it’s to do with his electric powered racing car.  I gave up the chance to go to the WiIliams F1 Factory for a meeting for work…how silly am I?!!  However I have been promised a souvenir from my colleague that’s lucky enough to be going!! (Mike just bring back Bruno Senna ;-) )

Well I guess that’s it for a quick update.  I will have to get back to posting on a more regular basis again.

Thanks for reading my ramblings!!

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Spanish Grand Prix 2011

Last minute decision at the end of April…off to Spain for the 2011 Spanish Grand Prix.  Only my 2nd Grand Prix in 10 years, first visit was to Spa in 2001.

All excited on the Friday morning getting ready to head off to Bournemouth Airport for the lunchtime flight to Gerona, Spain.  Arrived at the airport, weighed my suitcase and yes, overweight, so a quick shuffle of things from suitcase to rucksack and hey presto and a huge sigh of relief!!  My excuse was that I really didn’t know what the weather was going to be like as rain was forecast for the weekend a few days beforehand, but then again I am also female so packing everything barr the kitchen sink is the norm!!  After going through Passport Control and through into Departures a quick cup of tea and suddenly the flight is called for boarding.  Flight took off and it was a fairly quick trip over the Channel and Mountains and down into Gerona.  Yayyy, it’s sunny and fairly warm.  Car hire picked up and whoop, whoop, headed off to the Costa Brava.  The roads are amazing in Spain, and so quiet, however the weird thing was the, ummm, ladies in what could be called skimpy clothing on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, took me a while to realise what they were waiting for :-/

Anyway found the way to the hotel in Calella, parked up and checked in.  Booked All Inclusive as it was cheaper to do that than just do Room Only. Nice room and hotel was clean.  Down to the bar for a quick drink by the swimming pool, so nice to be able to sit outside in the evening by a pool.  Dinner and then a quick walk to the beach, some shopping for supplies for the trip to the Circuit De Catalunya the next morning, back to the bar and a couple more drinks and then bed for me…exhausted and excited about the Saturday viewing!!

Hotel was a bit noisy due to the bars very nearby that were open until very early in the morning.  Up and out of the door for the journey to the circuit at about 7.15am.  It only took about  3/4 hour to get to the circuit, apart from a wrong turn into the VIP entrance where the double of Eddie Irvine was posing as a Police man, quick turn around and arrived at the right car park.  Out of the car and literally 20 steps and through the gates into the circuit, up some steps and yes, arrived at the track…can’t believe it, the sun’s out, there’s the smell of engine fuel in the air, my first Grand Prix for 10 years.

Through a little bit of a merchandise village to some food, grabbed a bacon roll and thank goodness I brought some drinks with me as the coffee was not good…had a wander through a bit further, wow how close to the track can I get. Found a spot in General Admin where I could see the hairpin turn 4 behind me, turns 7, 8 and 9 in front of me and just over the other side the run up from the start to the first corner.

Found a tree and plonked myself under that, big sun hat on head, suncream on and relax…GP2, GP3, Mini’s and Porsche and yes the F1 cars.  OMG the noise, how I’ve missed the noise of real F1 cars.  Earplugs in and wow, good job I had some, the Lotus Renault with it’s high pitched whistle hurt the ol ear lugs!!  The cars were beautiful going round the track, the Lotus  Renault with it’s black and gold livery shining in the sun, the Mercedes Petronas with it’s silver green, the Mclaren shining with its silver and red.  All of the cars very pretty (yes girly thing!!) Even the Safety Car looked bloomin good and the Medical Car, oh what a lovely growl from that car….sighhhh!!!

Quali time for F1 and  no, Vettel not on pole, Webber is, Vettel 2nd, Hamilton 3rd, Alosno 4th and Button 5th!!

Headed back to the hotel after the qualifying and  sorted out the pine needles from my blanket, put some more water in the room fridge, headed down to the bar for a cup of tea and sat out by the pool for an hour.  Dinner and then watched a good magician for a while in the hotel.  Off to bed for an early start.

Awake at 5am, headed into the shower, Alonso chants being heard in the streets below. It must be F1 day :-D  Headed off to the track about 6.45 and got to the track at 7.30.  Decided to get near to where I was sat on the Saturday due to the shade, me and sun don’t mix too well. Found a spot, blanket down, bacon roll bought.  Lots of people in Gen Admin area already.  Really weird being amongst so many fans that are there to cheer on one man…Fernando Alonso.  I’m not one of his greatest fans, but to see all of those fans, with the varying team shirts on, Benetton, Mclaren, Renault, Ferarri, all Alonso, hardly any other driver shirts to be seen.

So my view again 7, 8 and 9 and the run up to the start and if I stood up the hairpin 4 behind me again.  £100 Gen Admin ticket and what awesome views and 2 screens right in front too!

Marshalls out on track, the countdown starting on the big tower in front, the safety and medical car going round to check the track and the safety lights and flags and first race out is the Minis, Feisty little devils those cars!!

Next up GP2 and GP3.  GP2 a little bit of a crash, but the big one was during the start of GP3.  Stationary car on the gri and most got round it but 1 towards the back ploughed into it, bits and pieces flying off everywhere, safety car out and the cars were taken via the pit lane until everything cleared up.  Up on the screens they showed the crash but also Charlie Whiting jumping clear out of the starting box as a tyre was flying towards him…eek!!

Final race before the big one, the Porsche…not a fan, but it wasn’t too bad a race!!

Quick trip to grab a cold drink and loo break and out from under the tree, phew it’s hot…back to my spot to wait for the drivers parade.  Spain have got this bit right…all of the drivers were driven round individually in all sorts of cars, much better than being on the back of a lorry.  Everyone cheering as they all went past, extra cheers for JB from me!!

Finally race time…cars off round to the grid while I was imagining Martin Brundle doing his grid walk just across the other side of the circuit to where I was…Finally all the cars lined up, the area around me all staring at the screens, lights out and they are off…OH MY GOSH…Alonso stormed up to the first corner and into first place, the whole circuit erupted, I had my ear plugs in but boy were those cheers loud, cars round to the back of me, more cheers, now coming round in front of me and I’m sure that I was in the Alonso Bank Club, deafening and that happened for a few laps until he got overtaken.  As the race went on there was some good action…however even with the screen in front I really lost where everyone was after all the pit stops and overtaking.  Alonso and Webber fighting for 3rd and 4th, Jenson overtakes Webber and then Alonso and into thirds, yes getting a tad excited through that part of the race as I thought he was into first…wasn’t taking much notice of Vettel and Hamilton!!

End of the race and Vettel on the top step with Hamilton in 2nd and Jenson Button in third, yayyyy I got to see JB on the podium!!!

Happy that I’d had a great day of racing, headed off back to Calella with the masses, although getting out really was easy. However taking a wrong turn and heading along the wrong motorway wasn’t…eventually found a road to go off, through the hills or it could of been a mountain and down to Calella, and guess what it started raining!!

Back to the hotel, shower off the dust, couple of drinks, dinner and bed.  Up the next day for flight home.

I’m glad I went, I would go again and I would like to stay in Barcelona at some point, but to be quite honest why pay those hiked prices  over the GP weekend.  Costa Brava is a great place to stay and get to the track!!!

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