7 things you didnt know about me!

Well I was tagged in a meme by @tj_bras4mums my friend and professional bra fitter. So I am rising to the challenge to tell you 7 things you didnt know about me and then I can tag other friends to do the same. So here goes;

1. I was born in Corbridge Cottage Hospital in Northumberland, the hospital is now a pub!. My mum took me there a few years ago and the bed she gave birth to me would have been behind where the bar counter is now!

2. I followed a career path in Hotel Management and became a General Manager in 1999

3. In may i will have been married to Robert for 20 years!

4. I met Rolf Harris and looked after his Didgery doo ( the long stick he blows into!)

5. I met Orvill and got to stroke his fluff – lovely bird and did you know he goes in for re fluffing once a year!

6. I have played the piano since I was 4 years old and took up the flute in 2003

7. Jonny Morris’s autograph is a treasured possession from when I was a child

Hope that was interesting and now to Tag some friends to tell 7 things we don’t know about them. All friends I have met on Twitter, all arty in their own way
@nickie72 – only joking! poor lass keeps getting tagged! But visit her she’s worth it!


I nearly lost my sight – the dangers of opening a tin of treacle

Last night I decided to bake some wheat and dairy free black treacle flap jacks as I have to cut these items out of my diet for the time being. I enjoy baking and have done for years but little did I know I had a time bomb in my kitchen.

 One of the ingredients to this recipe is black treacle, I found a tin in the cupboard dated 2002 (yes I know amazing how time flies) and thought its only sugar it’ll be fine.

 I started to prise the lid off when “bang” I heard a loud noise like a gun going off at the same time something heavy smacked me in the face across my right eye.

 I found myself on the floor griping my face with wet hands. My eye was throbbing and the pain was sickening. I eventually opened my eye and I could see – the relief was enormous. I looked around expecting to see a gun man in my kitchen – no one there.

 The lid had flown off the tin of treacle, hit my face and disappeared. My hands were wet with blood. I staggered to the toilet to look in the mirror; the gash between my eyes looked scary, exaggerated by the blood everywhere. Cleaned my self up shaking and held a towel on my nose to stop the blood flow.

Then the shock set in, staggering to the settee I blacked out, came round thankfully on the settee – 45 mins later I lifted my head and saw stars with that sick and dizzy feeling. Eventually managed to find the phone and called my husband.

 I had concussion, a bad cut and a minor black eye and whip lash. The lid off the tin was found behind the kitchen door- it had flown off me into the air and travelled over the door – about 8ft in total- very scary.

 We searched the internet – it’s a ‘well known problem’ that an opened tin of black treacle has an unknown reaction in the tin and if not opened for a while it explodes. Since about 2006 there has been a health warning on the tins. Many people sustain serious cuts and the treacle often explodes all over the kitchen – mine stayed in the tin thankfully looking normal. Now I have been in the catering trade for 25 yrs prior to opening my pottery studio and never came across this so not that “well known”

I felt it my duty to warn my family, friends and customers of this hidden danger.

Typing this 16 hours after the incident still feeling wobbly with a banging head, so please approach your tins/bottles of treacle black or other wise with caution and don’t have your head over it when you open it.

I will forgive you if you giggle at this as I can see the funny side but please take not and watch the next time you open a tin of this tasty stuff.

The Children arrive from Belarus safely

So the Children from Belarus arrived last Monday and I have only now found time to tell you all about it.  We (My husband and I) were so excited on Monday we had to find ourselves jobs to fill in the time to keep us occupied.

At 1.45pm I dropped him off at the meeting point for those going to collect the children from the airport and I went off to do the food shopping. Shopped via the list and managed to drive off from the supermarket without getting cream for the strawberries! Went to the corner shop and had to be shouted back as I left it on the counter.

Hastily unpacked it all checking the mobile for a text – finally it arrived “arrived safely all well on the way to the welcome tavern” I jumped on the kitchen floor and shocked our cats. An hour until they arrive…. finally I went to the welcome Tavern and was on the way in when I heard a noise and there was the bus, dashed back to the car for the camera and went to meet the children. I tried very hard not to cry but they were running up and hugging me and shouting my name, they had remembered from last year so touching. Then to meet the new children of which there are 4 on their first visit.

Meanwhile Alina the interpreter and our dear friend was still on the bus with the Chairman going through info she needed to pass onto the children. So I was helping the children with cases with the other members until I heard a squeal – my name being shouted out at the top of her voice, we ran to each other and crashed together on the steps hugging for our life, looking at each others faces and hugging more. Oblivious of those around us looking at us and laughing. My husband said we were like 2 kids in the school yard screeching and very comical apparently, but I don’t care. We have Alina and 14 wonderful children here for a month to help there health, have fun and increase their education.

We eventually got Alina to our home at 7pm after she had handed the children over to the host families and translated any necessary info to the children. Of course we chatted all night catching up from where we left off on our last email and seeing photos of our families. A late night but so worth it.

 Tuesday I was out with the children all day helping with the visit to Windmill animal farm, Check up at the dentist (some work needed) and fun afternoon in Avenham Park with bats and balls on the play park near the Boulevard. Such joy to see them playing in the sun enjoying our clean air and settling in together for a month of good fun.

 I’m looking forward to my other days out with the children and great times with Alina on a weekend.

Today I am excited, Tomorrow I will burst!

So I woke up this morning, stirred a bit and shouted ” They are coming tomorrow and so is Alina!” , good job my husband was awake. His reply was ” Are you sure because for months you have said oh they are coming soon and they havent appeared!” “Yes I am sure, tomorrow is the tomorrow they are arriving” I said. I felt so EXCITED, I scrunched my self up and wiggled about with a grin the width of my face.

So its tomorrow, Monday 21st June 2010 at 3.15pm ish to be precise, our 14 children will arrive from Belarus where they live in the chernobyl radiation affected areas, ( read my previous post for more info). Most will leave home tonight and board a train just after midnight with a parent to make the journey to Minsk airport to fly to us tomorrow afternoon, a journey of 8 hours of more for some just to get to the plane! ‘Our’ Alina will meet them at the airport.

Alina is a wonderful person, who this time last year was just a name; lady aged 24, called Alina who would be staying with us and being the parent guardian to the children while they stay with our groups families for a month. We were excited that the children were coming and a bit nervous about having an adult staying with us who we had never met, not even a picture.

This year its different, we are still totally excited, pleased, releaved even( see last post on here) that they are coming. Will they have grown? How is their health? Will they be happy to see us? Will the 3 new children to the group be ok and settle in with their host families quickly? These are questions running through our heads. This last year has been a hard year to raise the £12,000 we need to fund this trip for the children but we have managed.

Then there is Alina, she became a life long friend last year and we have been in email contact and some phone calls over the last year. She volunteers with the charity Medicine and Chernobyl as an interpreter to travel with the children, to look after them, to interpret for them during their stay ( they speak russian- such a difficult language to learn). When she went home last year our house felt empty with out her and it’s like not seeing your best friend for far too long. We made her bed and cleaned her room this morning then I came to work. So glad to be at work today – takes my mind off the EXCITMENT.

Tomorrow we will be cats on hot bricks and fit to BURST with EXCITMENT, my husband is going with the coach and some volunteers to collect the children and Alina and I will busy myself getting ready for their arrival. I would only flood the airport if I went to collect them – its still recovering from my tears burst last year!

So I’m off to busy myself now 26 hours until they land in Manchester, I want them here but I don’t want their visit to speed by.

So to our little Belarusian angels; safe journey, good health and we will welcome you with open arms, hugs and love with radiation free air, water and food tomorrow. To Alina, good luck getting 14 young children through the check in, the security checks and on to the plane tomorrow all by your self. X X

Tears of great sadness and joy

This Blog is not about my pottery studio or what we do but about me and what I do in my spare time. I volunteer with a local Charity group called Medicine & Chernobyl UK South Ribble group, I am also the fund raising coordinator. We collectively aim to raise £12-14,000 per year to bring a group of children from Belarus who live in the radiation affected areas from the nuclear power plant explosion at Chernobyl 24 years ago.

In brief the children live with radiation in the air they breathe, the water they drink and the food they eat this all has an affect on their health from causing very weak immune systems to childhood cancer to cancer in early late 20’s.  I will at some point may be write about their lives or the new found problems with the long term radiation in their lives and what we do to try and help.

We bring over a group of 14 children to stay with the families in our group for a month – it has been proved that living in clean air – yes here in Preston! with clean food and water it cleanses their bodies and boosts their immune system greatly. After living here for one month, instead of getting pneumonia in the winter they will just get a cold like we tend to do. Also it gives them a better chance to fight against cancer when it strikes. There are hundreds of similar groups throughout the UK and Europe that do this work bringing thousands of children into a safe environment for a month each year.

 So over the last year our group have been madly fund raising which has been harder than normal with the credit crunch still about, but we have managed it and the children are due to arrive on Monday 21st of June.

This time last week disaster struck, we were told 4 of our children would not be coming because the UK Border control had changed the immigration rules and had not told any one (they don’t have to because they have such power it seems) that as of 22nd May this year all Host family members (who the children stay with) have to have a CRB less than 3 years old. Some of our families were just over this and the charity’s rule was to renew every 5 yrs as CRB’s have no expiry date! On hearing this news we cried uncontrollably; you get attached to these children when they live with you or you see them during the week on outings etc knowing that their being here is helping their health and will make a difference to their lives; knowing that their life at home is often without parents (future Blog post I think), or in an orphanage or without running water, heating, or flushing loo, the thought that 4 of our group were not coming through no real fault of ours was too much to comprehend.  The 4 affected have been coming along time and I have been involved for 5 years so I know them all well. I shouted “ its not fair, they need to come to stay to be healthy, who do the Border control think they are?” in my rage. I wanted to run to London and bang on the door of No. 10 and shout sort it out, you have no idea what you are doing to these children! In reality the UK Border control have a duty to the safety of the children but at the time their reasons weren’t foremost in our mind. The years the children have been coming for gives continuous support to their immune system – what would a years break do to all that hard work on their well being and health? I kept crying with anger whilst driving to work, at work, just everywhere really,the devastation was so great I had never experienced this other than family death that’s the only way I can describe it really. Your heart being wrenched out and feeling rage at the lack of control you have of the situation.

For 4 days other Chernobyl organisations and ours lobbied MP’s and parliament, they got to meet with some Ministers in London and finally they listened and a Minister with power (I don’t know who, but I and our group will be grateful as long as I live to them) over turned the UK Border control agencies rule for this summer. Oh the joy, oh the tears, the floods of tears and boxes of tissues I and others went thro. I was at work when I heard and stood crying at my counter in my studio with customers already in and some arriving. It took a while for me to calm down and explain, when I did they needed tissues too! I wasn’t ashamed of my tears I love these children dearly and I am proud of the work our charity does to try and give them a better chance in life by giving them better health.

So on Monday, FIVE DAYS TIME we will be welcoming our children back, 12 from last year and before that and 2 new ones going to 2 new families in our group. My husband and I host the interpreter/parent guardian to the children during their travel and visit, we have been told this will be Alina who came last year, (We daren’t take anything for granted until we see her at the airport but are still making plans of where we will go with her on her days off) an amazing young lady and one who became our life long friend without a doubt during her stay last year. She lives in a lower radiation area to the children – however it’s not a level which we would ever want to live in so she gets the benefit of better health too which is fabulous. So as we count down how many days, sleeps, nights, meals until they all hopefully arrive complete and safe and sound– anything to make it be Monday now, I know there will be more tears on Monday – buckets of the them just pure delight to see the children and our Alina. I apologise if it gets a bit soggy under feet in the Walton le Dale area, but I hope you will understand why.

 I’ll let you know how it all goes and if you wish to find out more about what this charity does please visit www.mcrv.co.uk

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