I can't close the year without mentioning some of them so will attempt a month by month round up. Here goes!
On Saturday the 5th I collected Maureen (Debbie's mom) and we met Richard, Debbie and the children in Birmingham to see the Gruffalo's Child at the Town Hall. The children loved it, they love all of the Julia Donaldson books.
Later in the month it snowed but managed to get out to watch Madagascar 3 at the cinema with Mark, Michelle and the children. I often join them for the kids club films on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Sunday the 27th was Olivia's birthday meal at the Olympic in Dudley (her birthday is actually the 20th but the weather was too bad). Also popped to see my friend Tracey on the 28th to take her birthday present from the 19th!
Richard's birthday on the 14th.
On Saturday the 23rd my friend from work, Jackie's husband serviced the caravan so Jackie came with him and we went to Hobbycraft at Droitwich. Jackie is a great crafter and makes lots of cards. We both had 25% off vouchers so had a great time while poor Piete froze servicing the van.
Sunday 24th was kids club again at the cinema with Mark, Michelle and the children, this time to see Tinkerbell which we all enjoyed.
Managed to see Anais play her concert at the Adrian Boult Hall in Birmingham before the snow came down and took a big chance going out in the snow to the Hobby Craft show at the NEC. Planned Easter trip to Chipping Norton in the caravan had to be cancelled but had a good time with Mark, Michelle and the children at the cinema (Parental Guidance - very funny) and Beckett's Farm to see the baby lambs in their woolly jumpers!
Finally got my holiday to Chipping Norton, arriving on Thursday 25th after work and leaving to go to back to work on the morning of Tuesday 30th. While there I was able to visit Oxford, a National Trust property called Chastleton House, Bampton (where they film Downton Abbey) and Witney (famous for woollen blankets where I nearly bought an antique Singer sewing machine!).
May the 3rd was Roman's 6th birthday so we took the two vans to Millhouse, a site by the river at Worcester, for a long weekend as it was also May day on the Monday. We had a party for Roman on the Saturday (Michelle made him a pigs in mud cake which was amazing) and on the Sunday morning we went into Worcester. There was a flea market on in the town and what was for sale but an antique Singer sewing machine for less than half the price of the one I passed up in Witney. Needless to say it came home with me. (Thank you Mark). If you type the serial number into the Singer website it tells you all about the machine. It was made in the first half of 1912 in Clydebank in Scotland and has all the original accessories. I was even able to download instructions for it. (Just need something suitable to display it on now).
Went to see High Society at the Hippodrome on the 17th which was good with lots of famous songs. (Who wants to be a millionaire, True love, What a swell party this is).
Finally went to Ebury Hill just outside Shrewsbury for a long weekend over the Spring bank holiday (what happened to Witsun?). Used the park and ride to go into Shrewsbury and also visited a couple of NT properties, Attingham Park (grand house) and Sunny Croft (smaller but interesting house that belonged to a businessman and an expert needlewoman who worked on the Queen's coronation robes).
Even managed to find time to do some jewellery making and did some necklaces and earings.
The 15th was the Pelsall boat festival with Richard and Debbie and the children. Lots of narrow boats all moored up and stalls selling crafty things.
Then on the 22nd off to York. Stayed at York Beechwood Grange and used the park and ride to get into York. I love the railway museum and was able to look round Mallard (which holds the official record for the fastest steam train). I also went to the York Castle Museum which was really good, proper streets like the Blackcounty museum but all indoors.
On Tuesday 25th I moved across to Scarborough and set about exploring the area as I had never been to this part of the country. Not too keen on Scarborough but loved Whitby and bought some jet which I gave to Michelle for her birthday. Filey Bay was quite nice and had some good crafty shops and I also liked Bridlington. Spent a day on the North York Moors Railway which is used in Harry Potter and visited Goathland which doubles as Aidensfield in Heartbeat.
Went down to Somerset with Mark and Michelle from the 27th to the 31st to the farm where we have stayed before. Really nice there, quiet and the children love to feed the donkeys, Jake, Mandy and their baby. Visited Secret World animal rescue centre which is only just up the road but is not usually open. Decided to 'adopt' a hedgehog so Anais chose Ivy and the money goes towards the upkeep of the centre.
Picked some bargain balls of wool from Burnham as wanted to start a granny square blanket using my odd balls of mohair. Back to Studley on the 31st for the rest of the six weeks holiday (pity I had to go to work!).
Scarlett (my sister) came to join me for the first weekend as we had tickets for As You Like it at Stratford on the 2nd. It was very good and Scarlett particularly enjoyed it. They had set it at a sort of music festival and it worked really well.
Took Scarlett over to Richard and Debbie's as she had not seen them for a while and Brendyn's birthday is on the 7th so I was able to take his present. After we had a walk round Pelsall village and went in the wool shop as Scarlett wanted some crochet patterns. Came out with the same book each as it has a granny square blanket in it.
On the 7th I went down to south Devon for a week where I spent all my childhood holidays. I stayed at Stover Country Park in Newton Abbott which was a good base to explore. I wanted to visit some of the old places I remember but also find some new places. I went to Teignmouth and Dawlish which I am very fond of and also to Babbacombe, Torquay, Paignton, Goodrington (where I used to stay), Brixham, Kingswear, Dartmouth and on the river Dart to visit Greenway, Agatha Christies home.
Visit to Greenway
up to Edinburgh at stayed two nights at Bankhead Farm which was really nice with some brilliant views across the fields to the Firth of Forth. On the Wednesday I drove up to Grantown on Spey in the Cairngorms for a meeting and then on to Inverness where I stayed in a Travel Lodge for another two nights and flew back to Birmingham on the Friday. I met up with Scarlett on the train back from the airport as we had tickets for All's Well that Ends Well at Stratford on the evening. We had a nice meal in Carluccio's before the theatre to celebrate my birthday. Scarlett stayed for the weekend and we had a lovely day in Worcester on the Saturday and went to the Red House Cone glass museum in Stourbridge on the Sunday morning, which was really interesting.
Finished the month off with Derek's (Debbie's dad) 80th birthday meal on the 29th.
Trip to Betws-y-Coed on the 12th for work. Beautiful day.
Richard, Debbie, Mark, Michelle and the children came for lunch on Saturday 16th which was really nice as I don't get them all together very often. Sunday was kids club at the cinema with Mark. Michelle and the children to see Justin and the Knights of Valour about a boy who wanted to be a knight like his grandfather.
The following weekend I went to stay with Scarlett in London. It was her graduation ceremony for her MA in Psychotherapy and Counselling on Saturday 23rd at Southwark Cathedral which was really nice. Her friend Connie also went. It was a bright but cold day and we had a look round Borough market afterwards. On the evening Scarlett had tickets for the recording of a radio show. It was called My First Planet at starred Nicholas Lyndhurst (who was very tall). On the Sunday morning we went to a table top sale at a school in Pimlico. I bought some nice items of jewellery made by students.
The last weekend of the month there was a Christmas Fair at the Red House Cone which I went to on the Sunday and did some Christmas shopping in Kidderminster on the Saturday. I also popped to see Shelagh as it is her birthday on the 29th.
On the 7th Mark and Michelle invited me to go with them to Blists Hill open air museum at Ironbridge. We had a brilliant day! The weather was good and the atmosphere very Christmassy (even fake snow). We changed some money in the bank into old money which we could then spend in the shops. We got a whole tuppence ha'penny for a pound and spent it in the old fashioned sweet shop (sherbert lemons!). We had a horse and cart ride, saw a pantomime, saw reindeer, sanata's workshop and of course Santa himself.
The 8th was Scarlett's 50th birthday which she spent in Berlin with her boyfriend Matt.
Friday 13th was Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (which is about Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn) at the Swan Theatre which was very good and had some well known actors in. I was glad I had read the book as it helped with the story.
Tuesday 17th after work I went to see Frozen with Mark, Michelle and the children which was excellent and on Wednesay 18th went bowling with everyone from work as our team Christmas outing (I was seriously rubbish). The 20th was our work Christmas meal at the Warwickshire golf club (beautiful surroundings) and then the second Hilary Mantel play at the Swan, Bring up the Bodies, which was appparantly what they used to say when they brought people up for execution at the Tower of London.
On Christmas Eve I finished work at lunchtime and drove into Birmingham to Symphony Hall for The Glory of Christmas which featured the London Concert Orchestra, the Birmingham Choral Union and the choir of Brendyn's primary school! They were all brilliant and a wonderful start to Christmas.
Christmas Eve night, Christmas Day and most of Boxing day was spent with Mark, Michelle and the children. I love being with the grandchildern at Christmas and watching them open their presents. I had some wonderful presents too, lots of hand crafted things from the girls (they are both so clever at making things) and things to make myself.
I would like to thank all my family and friends for a very happy 2013 and wish everyone a happy and peaceful