Sunday, 27 March 2011

Seven facts about yours truly !

I've seen this done on other blogs and thought that it seemed like a good idea. So I've racked my brains and come up with seven facts about the much, much younger me. I have to say that I'm not proud of some of them!!!

Fact Number 1

My nan had an old fashioned corner shop when I was little. The sort of shop that sold everything from behind a counter. Biscuits were in tins and cold meats were sliced with a vicious and highly dangerous machine. Chairs were available so that customers and my nan could have a good old chin wag.
On Christmas Eve Nan gave her loyal customers a glass of Emva Cream. When I was 11 the task was bestowed onto me. The thing is, when I poured out a glass for them, I poured one out for me too! Quite a few glasses later my nan discovered me rather worse for wear. Instead of any sympathy, I got a belting, made to eat a hard boiled egg and promptly threw up. Christmas day was spent in bed and I never touched a drop of sherry until I was made to toast the Queen with it years later by some battleaxe ward sister!

Fact Number 2

I adored ballet as a child and like many little girls dreamed of becoming a prima ballerina. I was forever prancing around our tiny sitting room, forcing my poor little sister to watch my performances.When I was 11 I had an audition for the Royal Ballet School. I didn't get in and I was devestated. Mum said that it was becaise I had tonsillitis on the day, but in reality I just wasn't good enough and they could tell from my bone structure, feet or whatever that I was never going to be tall enough.
Hard to believe looking at me now that I could ever have been a ballet dancer. Fairy!

 Fact Number 3

My mum and dad thought it a good idea to pack me and my sister off every Sunday to Sunday School so that they got a few hours of child free time together.
We didn't stick to just one Sunday School. Oh no, we did them all! We judged a good Sunday School by where the annual outing was going to that year. A trip to Portishead was deemed as rubbish, whereas Waymouth was a good one. If the Harvest Festival supper was  meagre amd too much like school dinners then we moved on and if we couldn't learn the tambourine at The Salvation Army then what was the point of going?After seeing The Song Of Bernadette on TV, I went through a phase of hoping that The Virgin Mary would appear to me and that I would then become a nun. The phase quickly passed!

  Fact Number 4

My first ever trip abroad was at the age of 11 (a busy time in my life so it seems!) when I was packed off to Austria by train on an exchange trip. I spent three weeks in an alpine village with a lovely family. I spoke no german and only my exchange partner could speak a bit of english. I was staying in a chalet style house with shutters, balconies, window boxes full of flowers. I ate strudel and schnitzal and drank my first ever cup of "real" coffee. The Sound of Music was a favourite film of mine and there I was deep in Sof M country. I was in my element.
One day I donned my friends traditional costume, made for the hills and did the full Julie Andrews opening scene. I was in full flow until someone came along and pointed out that my costume was on back to front....Such shame!

 Fact Number5

As a teenager one of my idols was David Essex. My bedroom walls were covered in posters of him. I played his LP over and over again on my record player and drooled over articles of him in Jackie and Fab 208. One day I discovered that he was coming to Bristol. I was over the moon and besides myself with excitment. With nobody to go with, I took myself to town, bought a ticket and sat waiting for my hero. The moment had arrived, and coming on the stage was.... "Sparks"!!!  Now for those many moons younger than me. Sparks was a band consisting of two brothers. One of whom looked like Hitler!
Needless to say I was devestated to learn that I had got my dates muddled and hadn't noticed in my excitement that it sure wasn't David Essex on either the billboards or who's name it was on my ticket!

Fact Number 6
Cookers when I was a child were always freestanding and the grill was at eye level above the hob. My mum often put clothes to air on the grill hood as we had no radiators or tumble dryers way back then in the dark ages. Now putting clothes on an appliance that bursts into flames at a touch of a button is not to be recommended. My mum should have known better! One day I lit the grill to make toast and whoooosh mums knickers and brassieres all went up in flames. Fortunately no harm was done to me or the kitchen but mum was left without any undies and had to itemise each undergarment to the insurance man when he next called!

Fact Number 7

 I got kicked. out of the Girls Brigade. A shameful episode and one I still find too painful to talk about. Lets just say I was easily lead!






Sunday, 20 March 2011

Bristol. Where my heart belongs!

 I amazingly managed to persuade Mr R to visit a wedding fair today. I really thought that I would struggle to get him anywhere near an event which is frequented by mostly us ladies and has lots of lovliness which we can ooh and aah over but to him it could well be his idea of a living nightmare. The Bristol Vintage Wedding Fair was held at Bristol Zoo and as he was keen to look at a watch he had had his eye on that was for sale in Cabot Circus in Bristol city centre, he probably felt that he could endure a promised short wedding fair visit in return for a bit of retail therapy.
 Bristol Zoo.The location for the wedding fair.

I always get very excited about a visit to Bristol. It's the city where I was born and lived in until I was 18 which is when I left home to train to be a nurse in London. I returned briefly in my early 20's when I got a little homesick for my home city and found a job in a nursing home. I also found a flat share in Clifton, my favourite area of the city.  I should have been in my idea of heaven, but in reality the job was a big mistake, the flat was pokey,damp and cold and I had no friends as they were all in London. So after six months I returned to the capital and was for a while content with the odd visits to my parent's home in a village just outside the city.A
 couple of years later yearnings to return to my roots returned and I decided to buy a flat a stone's throw from the Bristol Suspension  Bridge and bustling Clifton Village. Sadly my plans were thwarted and my dream to return was yet again put on a back burner.

Clifton village

As usual I am prone to rambling on,so to cut a long story short, I then met my husband  and because of his work commitments we spent the next 15 years in the south east until we decided to move to Swindon and to be close enough for a commute to London and also for me to be not too far to from my parent's home. So almost within reach, but still not where I really wanted to be.

So here we are still in Swindon. Times have changed. The husband flew the nest back to his roots in London, and I was left in a town which neither I or my boys liked much.My beloved Mr R came along, number one son went to uni and in a few months time number two son will also upsticks and be on his way to higher education, and so me and Mr R have no reason to stay here, except of course, a job I love and my friends.

What is it about the city that has a hold on me? Well, it's so familiar for a start. There are very few areas that didn't figure in one way or another in my childhood.; school in Staple Hilll, my nan's corner shop and watching Bristol Speedway with my dad in Eastville, ballet exams in Westbury, working in Boots in Fishponds and many more. Areas that I can still find my way around. Street names that are familiar.
I love the hustle and bustle of the city centre,aand the quiet backroads of "posh" Clifton. The Harbourside. Seeing the beautifully restored SS Great Britain takes me back to when I watched her coming home, a  wreck, along with thousands of  of other cheering people.Walking up Park Street and glad to reach the top.Listening to a dialect that is unique to the city and which sometimes I effortlessly slips back into.It's history and heritage,It's people that makes it  both vibrant and cosmopolitan.
 Bristol Harbour

Eastville stadium.The home of the Bristol Bulldogs.
 Cabot Circus. A shoppers paradise.
Park Sreet

I am proud to be a Bristolian. All I need to do now is to make one final step and I'll be back to my city. The city I call home..Fingers crossed that one day that journey home will be over.

Lots of love
Brigitte xx

Monday, 7 March 2011

Back again!

Oh dear! I seem to have rather ignored my blog of late so apologies to one and all. Of course I was away for a week so I had a good enough reason to give blog writing a bit of a holiday too, but I've been back for just over a week now, so there really is no excuse to why I've been a little lazy putting pen to paper, or rather finger to key!
Things are a little quiet on the wedding front as there is little I can do until my divorce is finalised. It's a little frustrating to say the least, but me and Mr R did discuss dates the other day. We decided that the last Saturday in  May 2012 would be ideal. Days are long and hopefully warm in late May and flowers in gardens are usually at their best. Then I remembered that my eldest may well be in the middle of uni finals around that time, so I'm going to have to chat to him about that, but there's no rush.At least not whilst the wheels of the legal system turns slowly! Talking of my darling son, I had a lightbulb moment the other day ! His degree is in film. He has learnt how to handle a camera, produce, direct and edit films...Bingo! He and his mates can be our videographers! As long as we get good wedding photos, it wont be the end of the world if the video is a little amateurish. It will however mean alot to me that my son had made it. I've a feeling too that he would rather be doing that, than having to make small talk with great aunt Flo!
My smashing "Big Boy" who wont thank me for posting this photo of him!

Our holiday in wonderful Cornwall seems an age ago now even though we've been back just over a week. Of course it's sods law that we had  rubbish weather for almost the whole week away, and it's been almost wall to wall sunshine ever since we returned. I'm sure the views would have been glorious, but it was difficult to see them when there's a constant sea mist. But you don't go on holiday in February expecting lovely weather do you. We instantly fell in love with our little cottage. A mixture of Cath Kidston, Heals, work by local artists  and Farrow and Ball colours on the walls. My favorite time of the day was in the morning sitting at the kitchen table reading my book with a cuppa watching passers by on their way down to the harbour front.
My favorite room in the house

Mr R and I love to eat out on holiday. I think that I only used the cooker once. That's the good thing about holidays when the kids grow up and wouldn't be seen dead going away with the oldies.You can afford to eat out more often and you're not restricted to chicken nuggets and burger menus.Although to be fair both my boys have adored sea food from an early age and lived on mussels whenever we were by the sea. Cornwall has more than it's fair share of great eating places. We really were spoilt for choice. I think that Mr R breathed a sigh of relief when he discovered that we were a bit too far away from the likes of Mr Oliver's and Stein's eateries to enjoy a lunch or two, but we did find some real corkers. 
The Beach at Sennen. Fantastic views and a great Sunday lunch.
Ben's Cornish Kitchen at Marazion. Fantastic food. The yummiest twice baked cheese souffle ever!
The Gurnards Head near St Ives. We couldn't get in the first visit so booked for the next day. Lovely pub with rooms. Great food.
2 Fore Street in Mousehole. Fantastic fish and only two minutes walk from the cottage.
Anne's Pasties at Lizard village. The best pasties in the world!
And of course no holiday would be complete without fish and chips eaten on the harbour wall.Even if it is a bit drizzley!

After such a fab time, I'm now feeling unsettled. Oh, how I would love to upsticks and make our home by the sea in the far west of Cornwall. Totally impractical of course.But who knows, nothing's impossible!

Until next time.

Lots of love
Brigitte xx