I know you've read this before but I'm posting it in remembrance of my Dearest Dad, as I will every year.
were dirt poor, living in a poor neighbourhood but Christmas was always
a magical time for Kit. There was no money for fripperies but Kit
needed a Christmas Tree.
"Joe, make me a Christmas Tree" she said to her youngest son.
"What? How am I supposed to do that?" he asked.
"Use your imagination" said Kit.
did she always demand such things of him, Joe wondered, just for once
couldn't she ask one of the others to come up with the impossible. Oh
well, there was no use in sulking, he would just have to get on with it
and do his best because his mother would not accept anything less.
his way back from work that day he decided to take the short cut
through the park, as for once he didn't have any errands to do for Kit
or the neighbours to whom she so readily offered his services. Busy
wondering how he could fulfill Kit's latest request he was not looking
where he was going and suddenly found himself flat on his face having
tripped over a broken branch off a tree, which had fallen as the result
of the storm the day before. Drat it, he thought as he dusted himself
off, then *ding* a lightbulb lit up in his head - he could maybe do
something with the branch! It was quite a big branch with quite a few
forks and twigs attached so he grabbed it by the thickest part and
dragged it as carefully as he could along the streets until he got it
Once home he found a bucket and filled it
with stones and soil and planted the branch carefully so that it was
secure and standing proud. He searched the cellar and found some white
paint and set to work to paint the branch. Whilst the paint was drying
he searched the house for anything that would liven the tree up; bit of
tinsel from a previous Christmas, a couple of paper chains Kit's
grandchildren had made at school, a small doll one of the grandchildren
had left lying about dressed in crepe paper would make a fairy for the
top of the branch. He carefully moved the branch to the front room and
set it in the front window, it actually looked like a Christmas Tree he
thought when he'd finished dressing it!
"I knew you wouldn't let me down" a delighted Kit told Joe.
word got round the neighbourhood that Kit had a Christmas Tree,
something no-one else had, and that's when the frequent knocks on the
door started. Neighbours arrived asking to see the Christmas Tree
bringing little gifts to hang on it - an odd earring, another piece of
tinsel, a long forgotten fripperie from more affluent times. Before
long the Christmas Tree was shimmering and sparkling and was truly
magnificent. Kit was thrilled and so were the neighbours who claimed
part of The Christmas Tree as their own. On Christmas Eve Kit's family
and neighbours gathered in the front room and sang traditional Christmas
Carols whilst marvelling at the Tree. Everyone agreed it was the best
Christmas Tree they had ever seen and vowed that every year they would
do the same thing again.
This is a true story - Joe was my Dad and Kit my grandmother.
Sorry you will have to wait a little longer for the next part of our Canada trip as I have to tell you about my niece's wedding, which took place on 23rd November. We had to meet at a designated meeting place in Manchester to board the coaches which were to take us to the church. Here we are waiting for the coaches. Youngest son and his family went to the church under their own steam as they live not far from there.
Me and Harry
Daughter-in-Law, Harry and Sam
Eldest grandson Sam
Mother-in-Law and eldest son, Nick.
MWM, his mother and Nick
The wedding was at St. Hubert's Church, Dunsop Bridge, Near Clitheroe in Lancashire.
The Roman Catholic church of St. Hubert's was built to the design of Edward Pugin, from, it is believed, the winnings of the racehorse Kettledrum owned by Colonel Charles Towneley of Towneley Hall, Burnley in the 1861Epsom Derby.
The Toweneley stud was at Root Farm. The Towneleys' agent and patron of
St Hubert's, Richard Eastwood, is entombed outside the front entrance
to the church.
In 1992, British Telecom installed its 100,000th payphone
at Dunsop Bridge and included a plaque to explain its significance -
the plaque reads "You are calling from the BT payphone that marks the
centre of Great Britain." The telephone box was unveiled by Sir Ranulph Feinnes.
Pronounced Man and Wife
The service was beautiful and the church was crammed full, as there were a lot of guests and it's tiny.
Rachel & Dean outside the church
After photographs at the church we boarded the coach again to be taken to the venue for the reception, Browsholme Hall in Clitheroe, where we were greeted with a glass of champagne in the Tithe Barn before walking up to the hall for more photographs. The Hall is an Elizabethan House claimed to be the oldest surviving family home in Lancashire. Since 1954, it has been designated a Grade I listed building. You can read more about it here.
Rachel and Dean
Bridesmaids and Bride's Mother (my granddaughter Gracie the little one in the centre)
Emma (on the left), Rachel's sister, chief bridesmaid
Father (my eldest brother) and Mother of the Bride
Youngest son and his family
After the photocall it was time to walk back down to the Tithe Barn for canapes and another drink before the reception. The venue was beautifully decorated.
We took our seats and listened to the entertaining and moving speeches.
Father of the Bride making his speech
Rachel and Dean relaxing
We had a superb meal after which Rachel and Dean cut the cake.
After the meal we retired to an ante room whilst the staff cleared the remnants of the reception and prepared it for the evening. There was a singer entertaining us and we took some candid shots of the family enjoying themselves.
We were soon able to go back into the reception room where Rachel and Dean had the first dance
before everyone else joined in and we were able to take some more photographs of the rest of the family.
My youngest brother, Stewart, middle child Lauren and his wife, Karen
My youngest brother's children, Bradley, Lauren and Kirsty
Cousins Lauren, Emma and Kirsty
Liam (the bride's brother) and his friend
Nate, our youngest grandson, and his Mum, Fiona
Harry and Kai (grandsons) enjoying a coke
Rachel and Dean have been together since they were 15 years old, nine years to be exact, they met at school. The wedding had been two years in the planning, I hope you enjoyed seeing my family enjoying a very special day.
I had a very special day yesterday. It was my birthday (don't ask how old I am) so MWM and I went to Manchester for the day to visit the Christmas Markets, where we bought some special cheeses, Christmas Cake and enjoyed a mug of mulled Glühwein.
Then we did a little more shopping where I stocked up on cosmetics and MWM bought himself a new coat, before going for lunch in our favourite restaurant Bella Italia.
We had a lovely meal with a bottle of Prosecco, which was free, Bella Italia had kindly sent me a voucher for it for my birthday.
After lunch we went to get my birthday present off MWM, a bottle of my favourite perfume - Jo Malone 154 Cologne and the assistant also gave me a whole load of samples of the various Jo Malone colognes.
Next we went to a lovely little wine bar, Hangingditch, for a nice glass of Malbec.
Our next stop was a little underground bar called Corbieres.
We were hungry again when we left Corbieres, so we made our way to Cafe Rouge at The Printworks where we had a sharing board of pâté maison, petit saucisson, houmous, olives,
aromaticcured pork, marinated goats cheese boulée, red pepper tapenade
& rustic breads washed down with another glass of wine.
Stuffed full of plumptiousness we decided to catch the tram back to Bury, where we had one more drink before phoning for a taxi to take us home. Once home and the shopping unpacked we had a cup of tea and went to bed.
I had a lovely birthday!
Next week I will resume telling you about our Canada trip, so join me then for Canada Part 5.
I have just booked our next big holiday for September 2014!
New England & Canada in the Fall with New York Add-on
Here's our itinerary but we have an extra few days in New York to do exactly what we want and hopefully meeting up with a longtime blog friend namely Daryl. We leave England on 15th September and return on 30th September.
Day 1: UK/Boston
Your holiday begins with a flight to Boston, Massachusetts,
the natural starting point for any tour of New England and your base for
the next three nights.
Day 2: Boston
At one time, Boston was a hotbed of revolutionary activity,
perhaps the most famous act being the Boston Tea Party. These days, it’s
a modern, cosmopolitan city that takes pride in its revolutionary past,
preserving it for future generations. The narrow, winding streets and
squares of the old quarter provide an abrupt and delightful contrast
with the city’s modern skyscrapers and bustling lifestyle. Boston also
boasts perhaps the finest seafood in the world. An included morning
sightseeing tour takes you along parts of the famous Freedom Trail to
the Granary Burial Ground, the harbour (site of the Boston Tea Party),
Beacon Hill, Quincy Market and Cambridge, home of Harvard University.
Your afternoon is free to enjoy this wonderful city before returning to
Day 3: Boston
Feel free to explore more of Boston independently today, or
join your Tour Manager on an exciting full-day optional tour to
beautiful Cape Cod. Renowned for its up-market coastal resorts, Cape
Cod’s shores are a playground for the rich and famous. In contrast to
this is Plymouth, where America’s founding fathers first set foot in the
Day 4: New Hampshire
Today is where the views really become something special as
you drive into New Hampshire. The countryside is reminiscent of parts of
Britain, but on a much grander scale, with thousands of square miles of
forest ready to burst into multi-coloured splendour every autumn.
Greens, golds, reds and oranges all work together to create a magical
patchwork landscape that is unrivalled. Tonight, you will stay in North
Day 5: New England
Enjoy a leisurely day amidst New England’s glorious
countryside today as you drive through the White Mountains and Franconia
Notch State Park into Vermont. You won’t want to put your camera down
for even a minute, as there is just so much to see at every turn. A
short visit will be made to Montpelier, the smallest state capital in
the USA, before continuing to Stowe for an overnight stop.
Day 6: Vermont
Drive northwards through the gentle Vermont countryside to
the Canadian border and on to Montreal. The magnificent bilingual city
of Montreal occupies an island at the junction of the St Lawrence and
Ottawa rivers, and although hundreds of miles from the sea, it is a
major port and Canada’s second city. Montreal’s cobbled streets, 17th
century buildings and beautiful parks and gardens are an obvious draw
for the many visitors that come here each year, as are the fine
restaurants and countless open-air cafés. Take any opportunity you can
whilst in the city to relax in one of these cafés to indulge in a spot
of people-watching. A sightseeing tour of the city this afternoon will
give you an excellent overview of life in the city and introduce you to a
selection of its finest sights. With three nights in Montreal, there’s
plenty of time to discover more for yourself.
Day 7: Quebec City
The heart of French Canada, Quebec City is the destination
of today’s included excursion. The only walled city in Canada, it stands
proud on the St Lawrence River and is an enticing blend of winding
cobbled streets, ancient churches, Norman-style houses, stone buildings,
public squares and horse-drawn calèches. Famous sights include the
Cathedral, Château Frontenac, the Basilica, the Citadel, and Plains of
Abraham, scene of the decisive battle in 1759 between the French and the
English for the control of Canada.
Day 8: Ottawa
Leaving cosmopolitan Montreal behind, it’s time to travel to
elegant Ottawa, the capital of Canada. Proudly stood on the Rideau
Canal, you’ll see some of its main attractions, including the Parliament
Buildings and grand Chateau Laurier hotel. It’s then on to the exciting
city of Toronto for a two-night stay.
Day 9: Toronto
Toronto is Canada’s largest city and its commercial and
cultural centre is dominated by the 1,815ft high CN Tower, one of the
world’s tallest free-standing structures. It also boasts a vibrant
nightlife, with world-class theatre, ballet and opera, and every style
We will enjoy a sightseeing tour of this popular city this morning and
you will have time this afternoon to explore at your own pace
Day 10: Rochester
This morning we leave Toronto and continue to the mighty
Niagara Falls, one of the greatest sights in the New World. Situated
some 80 miles south-east of Toronto, the Falls are divided into two
parts – the Canadian and American Falls. The Canadian Falls are the
larger, 180ft high with a crest of 2,200ft, forming a curve known as
Horseshoe Falls – truly breathtaking. For the most dramatic close-up
view, you can don special waterproofs and ride the boat ‘Maid of the
Mist’ close to the thundering waters (operates mid-May to mid-October).
This afternoon you will return to the USA by entering New York State,
which is also famous for its wonderful autumn colours. You’ll stay
overnight stay in Rochester.
Day 11: New York
After the wonderful natural scenery of New England, it’s
time to experience the wonders of New York, where you will stay for two
nights in Manhattan, close to Times Square. An irresistible, exciting,
eclectic city, New York truly is a 24-hour city, with no shortage of
things to do and places to see at any time of the day or night.
a whole range of optional excursions available to help you get the most
out of your time here – just talk to your Tour Manager, who will be
able to give you plenty of advice if you haven’t already planned every
minute of your time before leaving home!
Perhaps take a cruise
around Manhattan, head to Harlem, visit the enigmatic Statue of Liberty,
or even treat yourself to a helicopter ride over the famous skyline.
For all you shopaholics out there, Fifth Avenue is the place to be, and
when the hustle and bustle gets too much, slow the pace down with a
leisurely Hansom cab ride through Central Park. In the evening, you’re
spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants – from diners serving
burgers to five-star restaurants, New York has it all, and of course,
the smash hit shows of Broadway are a real to-do. You’ll be planning
your return before you even leave the city!
Day 12: New York
This morning join an included tour of New York City, which
takes you from Broadway, Times Square and the Empire State Building to
Greenwich Village, then Chinatown, the Bowery and Wall Street. The rest
of the day is then free for you to continue your explorations, and once
again a range of optional excursions will be available.
Our weekend has been so busy - celebrating MWM's 65th birthday, which was yesterday.
It started on Friday evening when we took all our family to our favourite Chinese restaurant for a meal. Here's some photos from the evening.
Sitting down to dinner.
In the next photo are
Back row - Sons Nick and Dan, MWM, Me, Daughter-in-Law Alison.
Next row - Eldest Grandson Sam, Kai, Nate and Harry
Front row - Granddaughter Gracie and Mother-in-Law Jean
There was one person missing, Dan's partner Fiona who was stuck in traffic on her way home from work, unfortunately she didn't manage to get to the restaurant but she didn't miss out on the food because there was so much of it the restaurant boxed up what was left and Dan took it home for her.
Yesterday was MWM's actual birthday and we spent it with our good friends Tony & Karen. We went to Manchester and did a pub crawl before going to our favourite Indian Restaurant for a scrumptious meal, after which we hit a few more bars. Here's some photos of us enjoying ourselves.
We had a great time and MWM said it was his best birthday ever!