Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Odd photos from Oct and Sept 2011

A few random pictures. In October we had a book parade at school. They do it as a way around Halloween so the children can get dressed up but it is meant to be related to a book. This year Abi chose Ella the Rose Fairy - she's into the Rainbow Fairy Books, well now she's into any girlie chapter book. Jacob went, once again, as Harry Potter. He's still trying to persuade us to let him read the whole series. He's in the middle of the 5th (I think they get a little too grown up for a 9 year old). I was Max from Where the Wild things are. My class had a wonderful time and they all took part too, not back for 10 year olds! So there's a photo of each of us. I have also included one from a pig roast we went to to celebrate our friend's, Nadine, 30th birthday.



Back in October we took Marion to visit Luxembourg. None of us had been before. It's about a 3 hour drive from our house and is a beautiful place. Luxembourg city is a mix of modern and old. We stayed in the modern part but it's only about a mile to the old city. We did a bus tour - much to Allen's annoyance, however I thought it was worth it! The streets are pretty small and the bus driver did hit a post. The first thing we visited was an amazing play park. It had a pirate ship in the middle and a water feature where the children could damp parts and then release the water. Jacob and Abi had a fabulous time, we ended up going back to the park the next day. There was also a lovely chocolate shop that sold delicious hot chocolates, the ones where you stir the chocolate on a stick into the hot milk. The cakes weren't bad either! We also toured the old underground castle, a maze of tunnels where people actually lived and defended the city. Marion wasn't keen on looking over the egde as it was quite high up! There were beautiful views and great gardens too. There are a variety of walks you can do and I want to return, either with Ruth (she's visiting in Feb) or with the family again. I would have loved to have explored the shops but the only one we went in was a toy shop - surprise, surprise!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kinderdyke 2011

Grandma Melrose came and visited back in October. We did a few trips out and about. These photos are from when we visited Kinderdyke. It's an area in The Netherlands near to Amsterdam, so a two hour drive from us. To make the trip a bit easier we stopped at an excellent pancake house that was 30 mins into the trip! A great place and we will definitely go back.

Kinderdyke is an area that contains 18 working windmills all on one flood plain. They have one windmill turning, you can go in and have a look, then another that turns and the other 16 are stationary. They would all work. They were built to drain the area and to keep it free from water. It is an amzing site and kind of gives you the feeling of what it would have been like to live back then. Marion took Jacob and Abi in the one that was working, Allen refused to go in as you had to pay! I kept him company, it didn't take them long to look around. We had all seen inside a windmill that wasn't turning before and Marion said it was pretty similar so I think Allen made the right choice! They then got to watch a film about it all which Marion said was very good. A good day out.


Halloween 2011


I know the next few posts are completely out of order, as in date not weird! Due to full time teaching I have found it very difficult to keep up with things like housework and my blog. This is all soon to change as I finish full time on Friday and go back to good old supply. I have really enjoyed being back in my own classroom but I am ready for a break! I don't know how people work full time with children and a husband. I don't know who has found it the hardest with me working out of them all!

Anyway here's a photo from Halloween. We had a fun time. On the Friday before we went to Trunk and Treat on the American base. We did this last year too and it works very well. People have candy in their car boots on an easy walking route around the base. They all decorate their cars and there are extra decorations on the route too. They also do a haunted house and an area at the end with Halloween activities for the children.

The photo is before we started, outside our house. Abi went along with Haley(in the photo) and Jacob met up with his friends once we got there. I like it as much as the children! Allen couldn't join us this year as he was returning his mum to the airport - see next post! We also did trick and treating on our British street on actual Halloween - Allen did that one!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Jacob's 9th Birthday

Jacob turned 9 on Thursday. He was up nice and early - 5.30! He stayed in bed though and we went down stairs together at 6am. He wanted to open his presents in bed, so at 6.15 he started! He had great fun and immediately wanted to play the Wii to try out his new Pirates of the Caribbean lego game from Grandma and Grandad. We'd got him a few little bits with his main thing being a bike. It's a bit big for him but he liked it all the same. I'd baked cookies for his class and we decorated them with frosting and smarties (chocolate ones not American Smarties). He wore his new Melrose Rugby Club Hoodie to school and has not taken it off since! Everyone made a fuss of him at school and afterwards we picked up Allen and went to the all you can eat Chinese - Jacob's favourite. I've included a photo of him opening presents and on his bike in the lounge!

Saturday was Jacob's party. We had a friend around for the day and 3 more arrived at 1pm as Jacob had a joint party with his classmate Marcus. Marcus is Norwegian and was in Jacob's class last year and is with him again this year. Between them they had invited about 20 guests for a party at a local indoor play place and amazingly everyone came! It was a hectic 3 hours, especially as I missed the first hour as Abi was at a cheerleading day and I went to see her perform and then bring her to the party. We finished at 5.30 and took 3 extras back with us for a sleepover. The boys were great. They went to sleep at 10pm and 2 got up a 7am and then the other 2 at 8am. After a pancake breakfast we played with the Nerf guns outside until they were picked up. A very successful sleepover and a great end to Jacob's birthday weekend.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Amsterdam Marathon


Here's a late post about the Amsterdam marathon. Allen has decided to do a marathon each decade. So, for his 30th he did the London and his 40th was the Amsterdam. My mum came across for the weekend so I could join him there. I drove up on the Friday night and found our small but brilliantly located B&B. Allen flew in from Greece, landing in Amsterdam around 11pm. By this time I'd eaten out at a local bar, enjoying a curry and a pint, so when he arrived I was fast asleep!

Saturday we went to register and pick up his number, all quite exciting. I've included a photo of him outside the Olympic Stadium - where the marathon started and finished. After that bit was out of the way we then went to the diamond museum. I was very impressed with this although I couldn't persuade Allen to visit any of the recommended shops! We did lots of walking around and then ate back at the bar I'd been to the night before. Allen ate loads of pasta.

Sunday morning arrived and we walked to the tram stop that we'd been told would take us to the stadium - no trams. We ended up walking to the start, not the best thing for Allen although we did meet another Scot and Allen ended up running over half of the marathon with him so that was a bonus. The next photo is of Allen before the race started at the Olympic Stadium. I left Allen to get sorted and went to find my bike. I'd left it at the underground car park, lots of walking later I finally found it and cycled to the 15km point. Got a good spot and saw Allen smiling and waving, did get a photo but it was blurred. Cycled to the 25km point, got another waving photo this time not so blurred! Then off to the 35km point and yet again a smiling and waving Allen. I then met him at the finish, he was very normal and I was very pleased and proud to see him. I think he was a bit surprised at my excitement! So all of the training was definitely worth it as a time of 3 hours 44mins was better than 3 hours 56mins in London ten years ago.

We made our way back to the car, stopping for a well deserved Burger King on the way - see photo!

Dropped Mum back at Genk on the Monday, thank you Mum.


Saturday, September 24, 2011


Allen, Jacob and Abi did a try a triathlon last weekend. Everyone had loads of fun. Allen's was a bit more serious. He swam 12 lengths, cycled 10 miles and then ran 2. We watched from the cycling stage. As he is training for the Amsterdam marathon he is in very good condition. He did extremely well and came 4th out of 70. He reckons they made him swim 2 extra lengths so he would have actually been 3rd.

Jacob and Abi had to do 2 lengths, cycle a mile and run 800m. It was just right for them and they loved it. At the end they got a great goodie bag too. After it was all done there was a BBQ and bouncy things for the children to go on. I ended up cooking the BBQ, not sure how that happened!

So now Jacob needs a new bike as Abi is the right size for his one. Luckily Jacob's birthday is coming up, so at least we have an easy present this year!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Back to NL with Grandma.

After my girls weekend in Portsmouth I travelled straight back to The Netherlands as I had to go into school to set up my classroom, so Allen stayed in Scotland and then Marion came back with him on the ferry. Marion then kindly stayed and looked after Jacob and Abi while I was busy with my first week of school. It was great as I didn't have to think about cooking, cleaning or ironing for that first week. While Marion was here we still managed to fit in a few trips out. We visited Monde Verde, there's a photo of them on the water pulley ride, the windmill with a cafe at the bottom - photo of them up the windmill and Gangelt wildlife park. I put in a happy photo of Jacob feeding the deer. After that photo was taken Jacob then went on to try to feed the wild boar. I told him to throw the food through the fence, due to the fact that they bite. Jacob stood a bit too close and the big daddy wild boar bit him on the finger. He was very lucky it didn't take his finger off, as it was, it was a nasty nip with lots of blood. We were there with friends from the Falklands, Sarah, a nurse who was very handy to have. She cleaned it up. I took him to the hospital to check on jabs and to get it bandaged. Sarah had said that it was fine and she was right as they didn't do any more at the hospital. It did bleed alot, I think that's what freaked Jacob out the most. Two weeks on and it's just a scab. If you look in the windmill photo you'll see his bandaged finger. He was funny, as soon as it had happened, he counted to see if he still had all of his fingers! Quite a feat as I was holding his hand above his head to stop it bleeding will dragging him to the bathroom to clean it all up. I bought a season pass on the way in - wonder if I'll ever get him back there??!!


Scotland Summer 2011

After my 40th birthday we had a few days enjoying being out and about around Melrose. We then took a trip to Killin to meet up with the Knight family - friends we made in the Falklands. It was a beautiful drive past quite a few lochs. We stopped at one to have our lunch. Once we got to Killin we easily found our B&B and then went to explore the Falls. The first photo is of Allen, Jacob and Abi standing with the falls in the background. As we were playing we saw the Knights cycling past so they stopped to say hello. They were caravaning in a park in Killin. We then walked to their camp site and spent the afternoon catching up and drinking bubbly. We walked back into Killin to have dinner at our B&B and then went back out to play on the falls once again. I've included a photo of them running around. It was great to catch up and am looking forward seeing them again in England next summer.


My 40th Birthday

You may have guessed that I've started full time work due to the fact that I haven't posted anything for a while! Going back to work has been great, except for the fact that I now have no time to do anything else. So I am finally adding a couple of posts from over the summer holidays. We got the over night ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle early August. It worked very well with all of us managing to sleep in the bunk beds onboard. We arrived in Melrose on the 4th August in time for my fortieth on the Saturday. My mum came up on the train to celebrate with us. I've included a photo from the morning when Marion made a delicious brunch for all of the family. I share my birthday with Stuart, my brother-in-law, so it made the day even more special. After our brunch Allen and I went off to Stobo Castle near Pebbles for a relaxing night away. I've included a photo from our room. It was extremely luxurious and we had a fab time.

I continued my celebrations with a girlie weekend in Portsmouth with 2 good friends from Uni days - Ruth and Ali. A few more people joined us for the weekend and it was all great fun. I've included a photo from mini golf (which I won), and 2 from our night out. We went to a night club where I felt extremely old. Dresses showing your knickers were the order of the day so my linen trousers definitely did not fit in! I was impressed I stayed until just about 2am. I did enjoy it but will not be rushing back!

Next post is other things we did over the summer.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer Fun 2011


Have have had about 3 weeks at home so here's what we have been up to:

The weather has been un-usually cold and wet in The Netherlands for summertime, so my plans of lounging at the outdoor pool and getting a decent tan have gone, as has my tan! So, instead we have visited some inside stuff. The first photo is from a place place and is of Jacob and a new friend Jamie. They are both very sweaty and are building houses with oversized lego bricks. It kept them entertained for hours. Glad he's not grown out of these places yet. The next photo is from Mondo Verde. A place we go to regularly as we are season ticket holders. We did get wet, as it rained, but no one cared. Next up is blueberry picking, again got a bit wet but loads were picked and eaten. The next day we went to our friends house for American waffles with blueberries. Abi and Haley (who you can see peeking through the bushes) made blueberry pie - yummy. Next one is from a science place in Sittard. It's a hands on, no health and safety place! Blow torches and deep fat fryers were on hand with no adult supervision - they had a blast, literally. I took an extra child so spent more time worrying about her than Jacob and Abi burning themselves. Funnily enough both my two burnt themselves when I was incharge at the roasting coffee activity. Abi dropped her beans on the floor and made an almighty fuss, she was fine, not even a mark. The photo is of them building walls. Their favourite activity was making crisps and the Queen's dinner - a magnetic activity involving water and getting soaked. We were there all day and didn't managed all of the activities so will go again. I'm hoping to take a school trip there too. Next photo is from Schinveld park, a play park with a water feature which was freezing. Didn't stop my 2 from going in. Last photo is from a Barefoot walk. You walk, barefoot, on a variety of surfaces including muddy water parts, the childrens' fav. I took two extras and, of course, George fell in the biggest muddly puddle there was, he smelt a bit but was fine!

Off to the UK today, will update when we return.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Uncle Joe's and Auntie Eve's


After 3 nights at Deborah's we drove up to Uncle Joe's. He lives in Brerec, about 65 miles from Deborah's. It's inland and very different to Penestin. They rent a property there. It's a 4 bed place so this time we all had a bedroom of our own although Jacob was up in the night and Coco the dog came and said hello to me at 6.30am! Jacob and Abi loved the garden and the dog and would have happily stayed the week. We only stayed a night as I wanted to get back. While at Uncle Joe's he took us on a tour of the local area. We stopped at the canal and had a walk along the banks. We were lucky to see a boat coming through. I've put in a photo of us by the lock. It was a series of 11 locks so we watched the boat go through a few. Jacob and Abi hadn't seen them before so they found it all very interesting. I've also incuded a photo of Jacob in the garden and Abi digging potatoes with Uncle Joe. The garden is beautiful. Auntie Eve has done a brilliant job. They are very happy in France, it is very rural but does suit them. We had a great meal there and then drove back here in one go - a 10 hour trip. Jacob and Abi were very good. I'd had enough especially after Allen said could I pick something up for tea on the way home! He went out and got Chinese when we got back. So our extended holiday was a success and I'd like to visit all of the places again.

We also have a new second car. Allen chose a VW Scirocco. It is growing on me, especially when I was driving yesterday and had to come off very quickly from the motorway. If I'd been in the Superb I would have rolled the car but this small nippy thing managed without the children even noticing. My friend was following me and I apparently made her children scream by watching us though! Allen will be driving it more as it's small in the back. I took it shopping and the weekly shop does fit in so it's OK.

Babysitter booked tonight so off into Sittard and we've also got a family's lunch tomorrow. Then it's Take That on Monday in Dusseldorf. We're using Take That as our 14th Wedding Anniversary celebration so hoping it's a good night.




After a week in Turenne I dropped Allen at Limoges train station and he made his way back to Sittard. I'd had to go to the train station locally and buy him a ticket, I managed all in French and he eventually got home so it worked! We did speak quite a bit of French over the week, a lot easier than Dutch I have to say. So, after saying good bye to Allen we drove up to Penestin in Brittany. We stayed at Deborah's house. She's a fellow wife and teacher who's in Brunssum at present. I first met her when we were posted to DC. They bought a 4 bed cottage in a seaside location ten yuears ago and are gradually doing it up. She has 2 daughts but only one was there who's 12. She had her cousin out too and Abi was very happy to be hanging out with a 12 and 13 year old. It was great as you could walk into the town but also get to the sea very easily. Jacob and Abi loved the beach and water. They went in both days we were on the beach and had great fun. They collected fish, starfish and rocks in the rock pools using their nets and a bucket. We did a few walks too so there's a photo of us on the cliff top and one from the beach collecting. We had a lovely meal out in the town and Deborah cooked for us twice too. It was very relaxing even though I had to share with Abi! I hope we can visit again and take Allen with us next time.


More Turenne


Around Turenne were many beautiful villages and towns. We went to one called Collonges-la-Rouge = a red town. This was very touristy but very different to the other places we visited. Anne bought a beautiful painting, I wanted one too but Allen was Mr Moaner so we didn't get one. There were loads of jewellery shops and I was tempted by some nice pieces. I've put in a photo of the girls by one of the red brick buildings. It was on a hill so lots of leg strengthening walking was done!

Another town we went to was Uzerche, a Medieval town on a river. We had a great lunch in a local restaurant. It was packed, no English spoken but the food was excellent. They did the set lunch menu to include wine. I ended up drinking quite a bit of red wine, something I don't normally do but it was very light and very right with lunch!

The last photo is of my 2 in the pool. They probably spent most afternoons in there as it was warmer in the afternoons. We loved the area and will look to go again but to a different town. We were lucky that there were places to eat in Turenne so we could just walk down the very steep hill. My thighs and bum should have had a good workout but this was probably counteracted by the amount of duck and wine I had while in France!




I am doing 4 posts about our recent holiday to France as we stayed at 3 different locations so loads of info and photos. I had booked a week at a house in the pretty Medieval village of Turenne. It's an hour and 20 mins to the East of Bordeaux, about a 10 hour drive from here. We stopped this side of Paris for the night to break the journey and had an easy run down. I took a photo as we came into the village of Turenne, it's amazing. The place we were staying at was right next to the tower of the castle at the top of the village. There is also a photo of the house taken from the castle showing the pool and the beautiful view we had from the property. It was an old farm house that has been restored by the owners, it's been in the family since the 1800's. Our friends, Anne and Pete, plus their 2 girls arrived later that evening. I'd done a BBQ, the weather was perfect and the wine chilled. We explored the area but also relaxed at the house as there was our own pool which Jacob and Abi had great fun in. We also went to caves near by that you took a train down to get into. It was then an hour and a half of a guided tour that was well worth it - see photo. Another favourite day was at the local lake, I've included a variety of photos from there. I will do another post as there are too many photos to include in this one