My trip to the US of A! (part two)

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Ali and Colin in NashvilleHello there, how was your weekend?  Bit of a wash-out here, which was such a disappointment to the endless numbers of folk who’d organised Street Parties and Summer Fetes! Thank Heavens they had a cover for Centre Court, I hear you cry!

I’ve so enjoyed reading all your comments, and now feel up to date with all that’s been going on in your lives, although I am sorry to know that for some of you, this last month has been particularly difficult … I very much hope July will be kinder.

Well, it’s taken me longer than I thought to collate all my photos, but I’m now ready to share with you the second instalment of our journey across America.

Having arrived in Nashville the day before the CMAs started, we needed to pick up our four-day passes, which would enable us to see not just the live evening performances in the giant LP Field Stadium, but also the daytime shows on the Riverfront.

It works out to be about £25 a day, which is amazing compared to the price of live gigs/concerts in England! Unfortunately this year we weren’t as lucky with the weather, and not only did it pour with rain, but it was chilly too. I had brought a waterproof jacket, but wouldn’t have been very popular if I had put my umbrella up – although I did bring it with me!


Colin and Ali wearing their boots on the bridge in NashvilleHeadlining the Festival this year were Rascal Flats, Tim McGraw, Eric Church, Brad Paisley, the Zac Brown Band and Lady Antebelum. What is incredible is that none of the acts are paid for their performances – they do it for the love of Country Music, oh and for the fans too! We were also lucky enough to see Ray Stevens who sang his Squirrel Song, which had me in stitches – well worth a listen on YouTube if you fancy a giggle

The Band Perry were great musicians too, and even Willy Nelson put in an appearance on the final night. His rendition of ‘The Devil Goes Down to Georgia’ brought the house down! To get to the Stadium you have to walk almost a mile through Downtown Nashville, and across a very large pedestrian bridge, which is always busy.

Ali with Brooke and AleeshaLast year we each bought a pair of beautiful cowboy boots, but to be honest I’ve not had many occasions to wear them, so having brought them with me, on the one warm and dry night I wore them with my shorts and a top – CMA Uniform! I have never had such hot feet in my life! That definitely exacerbated my hot flushes, and I was very glad to take them off once we sat down, but I swear there was a heat haze emanating from where I was sitting…!

 

Colin and the boysWe actually missed the third night altogether because there was a dreadful storm and, as the stadium isn’t covered, we would have been soaked. Instead we holed up inside one of our favourite haunts from last year, Robert’s Bar. It was just like stepping back in time as The Don Kelly Band I told you about last year, still perform every evening, and the lead guitarist who was just 18 last year continues to rock the rafters with his playing.

It’s very traditional bass slapping, bluegrass Country, but with plenty of other recognisable songs too, and it is THE best night out. We had a great time, and although our friends had braved the weather and made it to the stadium, inspite of black bin liners to keep the rain out, they had given up and come home early. We did though spend our final day with them, had a lovely meal prior to the concert, and enjoyed for the last time, the incredible spectacle of 42,000 people singing along with their favourite Country artists.

LP Stadium and the smartphone effectI’m old enough to remember Barry Manilow‘s live concerts, and that special moment when everyone in the audience lit a candle or a match – for our final night, it was the light from thousands of Smartphones that lit the Stadium and was the perfect end to a packed four days!

Our next port of call was to be Dallas, and we’d booked an internal flight, which took only a couple of hours. Luckily, we left our hotel in plenty of time to get to the airport, because once there our baggage had somehow become too heavy for the aircraft! Apart from a few bottles of balsamic vinegar and oil as a gift for our friends, we couldn’t work out what was causing the excess, but our American Airways official advised us to buy another overhead baggage bag and decant our belongings, or pay $100 excess.

The bag was $35, so even with my limited grasp of mathematics I felt this was the better option…! I’m sure there is a perfectly good reason why the weight needs to be separated out, but essentially whether in the hold or the overhead bins, surely it’s the overall weight that matters?!

Our weighty problem a problem no longer, we were able to enjoy the short flight and arrived in Dallas to bright skies and sunshine.  We had planned to hire a Mustang again, but unfortunately there were none, so we chose a huge Chevrolet Traverse 4×4 to allow for our extra bag, and set the sat nav for Carthage in Texas – about 200 miles away – which is where our friends Martin and Gae Lynne live.

The rental company had armed us with directions and so with the radio tuned to one of the many Country stations we headed out onto Highway 20.

Because these roads bypass the cities, there’s not a great deal to see, but as the sky darkened, we heard the ominous rumble of thunder… Although we’d experienced some pretty extreme weather in Nashville, we really weren’t prepared for the force of this storm. The rain hit the road like a river, sheet lightening lit the sky, and the thunder crashed overhead – it was terrifying!

There was nowhere to pull over, and what made it 90 times worse were the trucks who overtook us at speed, causing a massive wave of water each time. Colin was driving, and I was meant to be navigating but have to admit to having my eyes screwed shut pretty much the whole way! At this point the fact we weren’t in a convertible Mustang cheered me, but it was the only thing that did!

Finally we saw an exit and, having pulled into a layby, we called Martin for directions. We were infact on the right road, but his suggestion to “Look out for No 1246 – it’s written on the mailbox” was unrealistic as we could barely see the road! He did though come out and escort us back to their home which predictably we’d driven straight past!

Martin is originally from Norfolk, and met Gae Lynne (from Texas) on a train. He bought her a coffee, and they were married the following year – the most expensive cup of coffee he’d ever bought, she told us! Four years ago they gave up their corporate jobs in England and headed out to Gary in Texas, a small town with a total population of 311!

[Having trouble viewing this video? See YouTube’s Help page]

They bought a cattle ranch on 200 acres of land complete with a herd of Black Angus Cattle, and have made it their home. It’s beautiful, as you can see here, but before we set off to look around their land, Martin warned us about the ’wildlife’ – six types of poisonous snakes, and three venomous spiders! It’s important to keep the doors shut at all times as the snakes come inside the ranch, and usually travel in pairs!!!

He does keep a gun handy but was once surprised by a Rat Snake (non-deadly) that he thought was a log … It reared up and hissed at him! By now my desire to explore had waned somewhat, so I plumped for a chair close to the back door and let the boys experience the outdoors! They weren’t gone long, and Colin came back with a crick in his neck having not taken his eyes off the ground once!

Gae Lynne and Martin with Ali and Colin at the Mexican restaurant in ShreveportThe next two days were spent looking around Carthage, Gary and Shreveport – where we had the most fabulous Mexican meal of sizzling Fajitas and refried beans – delicious! We visited a Goodwill Store – which is a like a massive department store filled with second-hand goods. However, all the clothes were washed and ironed and set out as new! The prices were very reasonable and I thought it was a cracking idea for those who fancy a bargain!

Our three days with Martin and Gae Lynne passed far too quickly, and on Thursday morning we were on the road again, this time heading south towards La Porte.

Well, I hope you’ll have enjoyed reading this blog, and if you’re not too bored, I’ll fill you in on Galveston and San Diego next time. Do write and let me know how you are, where you’ve been and what you’re up to and, as always, I promise I’ll write back.

Have a great week,

With my love, Ali xx

p.s: You can see a few more photos on my website too!

32 Comments

  1. Julie July 7, 2014 at 6:37 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    What a lovely blog as usual. It was so well written one almost thought they were there too but unfortunately not! Martin and Gae’s place looked and sounded fantastic although I have to admit I don’t mind giving the snakes a miss! The weather sounded dreadful-just like Wales I thought!!!
    I also like Aunty Antebelum-Steve Wright plays her a lot on the radio.
    Hope the weather gets better as we are going to Devon for a few days next week-a well earned rest I think. Other than my “normal” days off I’ve not taken any leave days from work this year so exhausted-for more than one reason as you know.
    Things ok here but have had some bad news regarding a couple of friends which makes me think life’s too short to worry-if only I would listen to my own advice!!
    Girls are fine and growing everyday.
    Will let you know any news
    Take care
    Speak soon
    Julie x The Girls xxxxxxx

  2. loraine plumb July 7, 2014 at 7:34 pm -  Reply

    Great blog again alison sounds,enjoyable and a tad tiring my husband les and I have been helping our daughter Clare and her husband Geoff to empty the kitchen having a new one put in this week they bought an older house and are doing it up they got married in skiathos last May it was a lovely week 30 of us flew out there together also my son has just graduated at bournemouth uni we live in ringwood so he didn’t have far to go the new forest is really nice very lucky to live here Gary is 25 and Clare is 29 on Sunday still haven’t booked a holiday for August I think we will wait for a bargain hopefully .look forward to your next instalment in San Diego sorry if you have already had this blog before but I had a problem trying to send it take care love loraine x

  3. Susan July 7, 2014 at 9:25 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Fabulous 2nd installment! I have only ever flown in and out of Texas but it looked beautiful from the air. Another place to visit sometime. I can’t say I’d be chuffed with the snakes et al around the place though lol. Lovely to have these friends around the world. Sad too that you don’t get to see them much but still special when you do. Really looking forward to the 3rd blog! I’m just watching the Lance Armstrong ch4 programme. It’s still unbelievable I think and sad to think what he went through. Mixed emotions watching it. I hope all is well with the family. How are your 3? Love Susan x

  4. martin forbes bucksburn aberdeen watching via sky tv July 8, 2014 at 5:31 pm -  Reply

    glad you enjoyed your hols alison despite the weather

  5. alison keenan July 9, 2014 at 11:59 am -  Reply

    Hi there Julie and The Girls :) Am hoping that you will be lucky with the weather when you go to Devon – I’m a fan of short breaks too, as you tend to do less! So glad you liked the blog – the little bit of film of the Ranch shows their barn which had the roof ripped off by a Twister!! Certainly some pretty extreme weather out there. Take care, and as always, thanks for writing, love Ali xx

  6. alison keenan July 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm -  Reply

    Dear Loraine, I bet your daughter’s wedding in Skiathos was fabulous! I went there years ago, and the weather and scenery were wonderful… How kind of you and Les to help Clare and Geoff! Renovating and replacing a kitchen is a mighty job, and you need as many pairs of hands as possible! I hope she enjoys her birthday too! Yes we did have a great time away, but it was pretty much full on, but then it would have been a wasted opportunity not to have made the best of being there :) If that makes sense! Congratulations to your son on his graduation, and how nice for you to live in the New Forest! I stayed there years ago in a place called Sway which was very pretty. Enjoy the rest of the week, and thanks for keeping in touch, love Ali xx

  7. alison keenan July 9, 2014 at 12:11 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Susan, and good to hear from you :) Yes, Texas it definitely worth a visit, and although our time with friends was limited, as you say, better to see them even if just for a short while, than not at all. I missed the Channel 4 programme on Lance Armstrong, but bought one of his books for my son Sam…. Life certainly threw Lance more than a few challenges, but I guess it’s up to each of us as individuals to overcome them in whatever way we can… Very sad as you say… My three including Sam are all doing well – don’t see as much of them as I would like, but they have their own lives, jobs and commitments, and it’s often difficult to all be available at the same time! Still, when we do get the chance, it’s lovely. I hope your week is going well, and do keep in touch, love Ali xx

  8. alison keenan July 9, 2014 at 12:13 pm -  Reply

    Hi Martin, yes I’m sure the weather you had for your 2 weeks in the Canary Isles was a great deal better than in The States, but it didn’t spoil things in truth, just made us more appreciative of the sun when it did shine! Love Ali x :)

  9. Elaine sallis July 9, 2014 at 8:50 pm -  Reply

    Hi ali
    Really enjoyed the second blog. Poppy spent half a day at school this week as she starts in September. It is her leavers concert at play school on Friday . I will be the sobbing wreck in the corner. I am really going to miss her when she starts school. They grow so quickly. Cali will be going into the juniors and Molly will be two in September . Hope all your family are well.
    Love Elaine x

  10. Alpa July 10, 2014 at 3:13 am -  Reply

    Dear Ali,
    Thanks for Part 2 of the US of A! It felt like we were there with you :) Looks like you had a good time despite the weather. The Festival sounds perfect for country music lovers. Like you, I’ve never been able to understand why weight has to be separated when you take a plane! Love the sound of Martin and Gae Lynne’s ranch and the space, but I have a thing about snakes. I can not bear them at all, which is not good when it’s not so unusual to find them at home in the garden or on the veranda steps!!
    I had an appointment at a pain clinic yesterday. I’ve been discharged as there is nothing they can do for me. The doctor I saw wants blood tests and a referral to another local hospital to be done. Normal blood tests show nothing and the specific blood tests I need can not be done here, as a result of government policy on ME. As my current doctor is not helpful, I don’t know if he’ll even do the referral. His referral for this appointment makes it clear he regards ME as a mental illness and not the neurological disease that it is. As the information on the referral was incorrect, I had to report the correct information myself. I was so disheartened afterwards. I’ve been dealing with this attitude for close to 20 years now. I’ll never get used to it or accept it. It’s just so wrong. Even worse, there is nothing I can do about it.
    Una, so pleased to hear about your new flat. Glad you feel you and Meli can be happy and settled there. So sorry for all you had to go through recently. Thank you for your support and kindness. The hugs from you and Meli were very much appreciated. Lots of love to you both x
    Jilly, enjoy your time away in the Lakes. Hope you have a relaxing break away x
    Sue, thank you for thinking of me x
    Love to all in Ali’s Army x
    Ali, look forward to hearing about Galveston and San Diego.
    Take care,
    Lots of Love, Alpa xxx

  11. mary morphy July 11, 2014 at 7:00 am -  Reply

    Howdy doody and good morning although its 6.15am as I start writing this and lashing down with rain as it has been for most of yesterday evening, all night and looks to continue this morning. To be honest I could have started writing this at any hour of this horrible morning as I have been awake for most of the night; daughter Chloe is doing her practice Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition which involves two 15km walks with a night of camping sandwiched in the middle. Chloe is in a team of 5, the three girls all great friends and the two boys picked for their map reading skills..very well thought out!!They were dropped off to their starting point in Sheperdswell near Dover yesterday morning and followed their carefully plotted route and we had word that they reached the camp site at Kearsney Abbey at 6pm. They have one phone between them as its a practice ( no phone in September when they do it for real on a different route and location yet to be disclosed) and I have text to see if they are ok but not heard a word. Chloe is terrified of thunder storms and they may have had one last night. My thoughts on no contact are A. phone out of battery due to the playing of ‘ging gang gooley’ or ‘I love to go a wandering’ around the one burner gas stove they have to cook on, B. the soft sound of the rain beating rhythmically on the tent has sent them into a deep sleep (highly unlikely. C. All hands are hanging on to the tent as its also very windy and the mere movement of a limb will send the tent over the cliffs at Dover. D. The staff have taken them off site to a nice comfy hotel as for health and safety reasons lightning isn’t good when the tent poles are made of bendy aluminium or E. They are having a fabulous time and mum’s worrying about nothing!
    They are due back at some point later this evening exhausted, wet and knackered and in need of a good fish and chip supper, or in Chloes case a large battered sausage and chips!. Chloe’s rucksack was huge and weighed a little over 26kg..about 60lbs ..nearly 4 stone!!! She looked like Dora the Explorer and beautifully plaited her long red hair into two French plaits setting off in shorts and walking boots complete with knee supports…important to protect them as she’s playing cricket on Sunday!!!
    So I’ve already eaten my shredded wheat breakfast during the first bit of typing so will now fully concentrate on next bit. Thank you for sharing your fabulous holiday part 2. Sounds like you had your fair share of horrendous rain, the car journey sounds horrific but your destination was definitely worth the anguish of the wet tidal roads. The pictures of the ranch are beautiful and the rock chic look SO YOU. Another book of memories made for you and I have a feeling you’ll be back there again soon.
    Live music in a venue cannot be beaten and seeing Take That at Wembley a couple of years ago was breathtakingly brilliant..I LOVE GARY!! Mind you, nowadays ( gosh I sound old) its more than just a singer or band on stage singing, it’s a complete show of lights, effects and a visual story. I remember seeing Paul Young at Wembley in 1988 and it was just him, a band and an almost empty stage. OOh scary moment just then, I am typing on my very old laptop and everything flashed, the screen went blank and I thought I’d lost you but you’re back. Had Chloe’s cricket tour( she’s off to a county under 15 tournament in a weeks time) and Jacks cricket tour ( he’s off on a mens tour with Westgate CC to Great Yarmouth in two weeks time)not needed paying I would have bought the TSV last weekend but alas the fund pot is in a severe drought!!
    However, just like to say how great the Alpha H liquid gold is. Ordered the big size with a cleanser and eyecream as it was a special deal, never used Alpha H before and my skin looks great. Thanks QVC.
    Other news; in my desperate attempt to get a Lulu Guinness handbag ( I have the tote with red lips on and all the cricket mums love it) and I have been teased by all the LG shows on QVC this week I had a email alert highlighting a sale on her website. So I had a browse..MASSIVE savings. A bag I love called the MOLLY bag is 60% off reduced to £158..still a lot of money and I cannot justify that amount if buying for me..and the pot is in a drought remember, so I emailed the link to my husband’s work email and said I would really really like it for Xmas and that I needed it….nothing mentioned by him so guess I will have to wait until Xmas to see..
    Rain still lashing down and the disposable BBQ’s we used last weekend and didn’t dispose off are now bird baths..need to tidy away. Have a great week. Love Mary

  12. Susanne Fitzpatrick July 11, 2014 at 10:10 am -  Reply

    Hello Alison
    If it’s not giving anything away – is there a date for the wedding yet? It would be nice to hear of some good news for a change …..!
    Lovely blog as always. Have been to many of the places you visited and the hospitality of the people is like something I’ve never experienced. There’s no such thing as a ‘stranger’ is there – just someone they don’t know yet.
    All good wishes
    Susanne

  13. Mary Morphy July 12, 2014 at 7:10 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali..just an update..daughter survived 12 hours of nin stop rain abd returned home very very wet and smelling like a wet dog. Everything inside and outside her rucksack was wet but hair still contained in plaits. She loved it although has semi paralysis in her shoulders due to rucksack carrying. Cricket cancelled by opponents on Sundayiso she’s quite relieved. I am a very proud mum. Real thing in September. Mary xx

  14. Judith Lennon July 15, 2014 at 2:24 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Part 2 was also very interesting to read and what a lot you both crammed into your time. How nice to catch up with your friends and to see their life out in the big state. I’ve been busy as usual with my grandchildren the eldest (7) played dressing up with me on Saturday and I was Queen Lily having a lily material flower perched on my head! She was my servant. We had such fun and so many laughs. On Wednesday I am looking after the youngest one (10 months) as her mummy is gradually preparing her days at school ready for her return to work after maternity leave. Grandad and I have the lovely job of child care for one day from September and the rest of the week she will be at Nursery. Such is life these days that the mums have to return to work and I know she is not looking forward to leaving her baby. Having some me time today as I am recovering from a tummy bug. As always take care and look forward to your next blog. Love and hugs
    Judith xx

  15. susan July 15, 2014 at 7:28 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, glad your brood is well and yes it’s hard you don’t get to see them all as much as you’d like. Is Lucy happy in her head of dept job? Big role! Fabulous though. I’m agreeing totally in life throwing you curve balls. Never could have predicted some things. Including how family are cooking with leukaemia diagnosis this year. Unbelievable admiration. Very aggressive form and will say no more coz not my place. Anyway you’re right and I hope your own journey is going ok now. Much love, Susan x

  16. Patricia Coulson- wood July 16, 2014 at 7:06 pm -  Reply

    Hello Alison & everyone, you are all so busy at the moment also getting your energy back hopefully after all the hard work you’ve all put in physically and mentally. I had to cancel my much awaited holiday last month. It was very upsetting but doubley upsetting when the travel insurance took a £50.00 excess each from the both of us. That on top of original cost of insurance plus my GP fee we were down £135.00. I did not know that travel incurred excess fees ?.
    Well thanks Alison for the reassurances that I could give to my daughter Jan about the hopeful improvement she may make in her feet and legs. It’s invaluable information and gives her much needed encouragement. Love to all, Tricia. X

  17. Debz July 17, 2014 at 10:51 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Well you certainly packed a lot into your holiday. You could become a travel writer if you ever tire of QVC or maybe squeeze it in anyway as other presenters have done. It would certainly make a cracking good read!
    One day I may get round to writing about Ainzley as heaven knows he gives me enough material!! Was woken this morning by an awful retching noise. I thought, blimey, that last lager did Neal no favours last night! I gingerly opened the bedroom door stealing myself for the horrors that awaited me and wondering if I’d have to ring in sick for Neal only to find it was Ainzley who had throw up all down the stairs! He’d made quite a noise about it clearly to get me out of bed! He was obviously empty and wanted feeding! He looked at me as if to say “Yep, I did that. What’s for breakfast!”
    Needless to say, Ainzley tucked into his breakfast without a care leaving Neal and I a little queasy to say the least. Our breakfast was the last thing on our mind after the sights and smells we were left to deal with. Don’t think my carpet cleaner is going to survive much longer!! Never a dull moment with that darn cat!
    Just felt I had to share that. Sorry if you were eating! He’s off to the vets soon for his 3 month check up which will be fun for all concerned! His usual vet has been off since we last went. They say it’s a bad shoulder but we reckon it’s trauma caused by Ainzley’s visits finally catching up with him!!
    Well, must go and check on him to made sure his breakfast has stayed where it should be and isn’t gracing my staircase!!
    Love to all in Ali’s army especially Alpa who needs lots of hugs and I hope my lovely that someone will listen to you and give you the treatment you so deserve. Una, I hope your move is going well and that it heralds a brighter chapter in you life.
    Lots of love and licks (but no sick)
    Debz & Ainzley (=^-^=) XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  18. alison keenan July 18, 2014 at 2:52 am -  Reply

    Dear Elaine, so nice to hear from you, and although I’ve only just read this due to lack of Ipad and local broadband playing up, but I am very much hoping that Last Friday wasn’t too sad for you? :/ I can’t believe it was Poppy’s last half day at school, and completely understand your emotions. There is something so final about that fundamental change to your routine and their lives, that it’s hard not to be sad… Where do the years go?! I think I struggled most with Jack and his move to ‘big school’ because he was my last child, and I knew from that point our lives would never be linked in quite the same way again. I hope that you manage to spend as much time as possible with her and Molly over the summer. So glad you liked the blog – still no Ipad but now this is up and running I hope to write part 3 over the weekend! Take care, and thanks for writing, love Ali xx

  19. alison keenan July 18, 2014 at 2:55 am -  Reply

    Dear Alpa, as with Elaine, apologies for the delayed response, especially because you sound to have been having a difficult time of things again. So sorry to hear that you’d found it necessary to visit the Pain Clinic, and then from what seemed to be a positive response, you yet again are without answers. I so wish there was something I could do to help, but I never give up hope that one day the medical professionals will be able to support you, as they have supported me, and find some resolution to your problems. Sending you a big hug and love from me – and no doubt all your other friends here – Ali xx

  20. alison keenan July 18, 2014 at 3:09 am -  Reply

    Crikey Mary, having read your lovely long comment, I so very much hope that you weren’t left all day worrying about Chloe and her overnight expedition in the elements!! What on earth did she have in her rucksack that weighed 4 stone, and how big was the rucksack?! Having read through your list of possible reasons for radio silence, I’ll bet it was that they’d set up camp, were exhausted from their labours and had fallen asleep! Do let me know! I hope that you’ll be able to maintain contact with her and Jack while they’re away on their cricket weeks? Here’s hoping they have better weather for that! Loved reading about your live gig experiences – Take That – Wow! My Lucy would have given her eye teeth to have seen them live, and I also remember Paul Young. Lovely man, and a great voice, whom I was lucky enough to interview on local radio in the 80’s. Talking of luck, I do hope your request for the LG Molly bag was taken seriously by your lovely husband, and that he ordered it at sale price using the link you sent him?! I’ll keep my fingers crossed it’s under the tree by the 25th December. By now you should have had some of this fabulous sunshine, so bearing that in mind, maybe a few more disposable barbecues are in order? You take care, and I do let me know how Chloe got on won’t you, love Ali xx

  21. alison keenan July 18, 2014 at 3:10 am -  Reply

    Crikey Mary, having read your lovely long comment, I so very much hope that you weren’t left all day worrying about Chloe and her overnight expedition in the elements!! What on earth did she have in her rucksack that weighed 4 stone, and how big was the rucksack?! Having read through your list of possible reasons for radio silence, I’ll bet it was that they’d set up camp, were exhausted from their labours and had fallen asleep! Do let me know! I hope that you’ll be able to maintain contact with her and Jack while they’re away on their cricket weeks? Here’s hoping they have better weather for that! Loved reading about your live gig experiences – Take That – Wow! My Lucy would have given her eye teeth to have seen them live, and I also remember Paul Young. Lovely man, and a great voice, whom I was lucky enough to interview on local radio in the 80’s. Talking of luck, I do hope your request for the LG Molly bag was taken seriously by your lovely husband, and that he ordered it at sale price using the link you sent him?! I’ll keep my fingers crossed it’s under the tree by the 25th December. By now you should have had some of this fabulous sunshine, so bearing that in mind, maybe a few more disposable barbecues are in order? You take care, and I do let me know how Chloe got on won’t you, love Ali xx

  22. alison keenan July 18, 2014 at 3:10 am -  Reply

    Crikey Mary, having read your lovely long comment, I so very much hope that you weren’t left all day worrying about Chloe and her overnight expedition in the elements!! What on earth did she have in her rucksack that weighed 4 stone, and how big was the rucksack?! Having read through your list of possible reasons for radio silence, I’ll bet it was that they’d set up camp, were exhausted from their labours and had fallen asleep! Do let me know! I hope that you’ll be able to maintain contact with her and Jack while they’re away on their cricket weeks? Here’s hoping they have better weather for that! Loved reading about your live gig experiences – Take That – Wow! My Lucy would have given her eye teeth to have seen them live, and I also remember Paul Young. Lovely man, and a great voice, whom I was lucky enough to interview on local radio in the 80’s. Talking of luck, I do hope your request for the LG Molly bag was taken seriously by your lovely husband, and that he ordered it at sale price using the link you sent him?! I’ll keep my fingers crossed it’s under the tree by the 25th December. By now you should have had some of this fabulous sunshine, so bearing that in mind, maybe a few more disposable barbecues are in order? You take care, and I do let me know how Chloe got on won’t you, love Ali xx

  23. alison keenan July 18, 2014 at 3:14 am -  Reply

    Crikey Mary, having read your lovely long comment, I so very much hope that you weren’t left all day worrying about Chloe and her overnight expedition in the elements!! What on earth did she have in her rucksack that weighed 4 stone, and how big was the rucksack?! Having read through your list of possible reasons for radio silence, I’ll bet it was that they’d set up camp, were exhausted from their labours and had fallen asleep! Do let me know! I hope that you’ll be able to maintain contact with her and Jack while they’re away on their cricket weeks? Here’s hoping they have better weather for that! Loved reading about your live gig experiences – Take That – Wow! My Lucy would have given her eye teeth to have seen them live, and I also remember Paul Young. Lovely man, and a great voice, whom I was lucky enough to interview on local radio in the 80’s. Talking of luck, I do hope your request for the LG Molly bag was taken seriously by your lovely husband, and that he ordered it at sale price using the link you sent him?! I’ll keep my fingers crossed it’s under the tree by the 25th December. By now you should have had some of this fabulous sunshine, so bearing that in mind, maybe a few more disposable barbecues are in order? You take care, and I do let me know how Chloe got on won’t you, love Ali xx

  24. alison keenan July 18, 2014 at 3:25 am -  Reply

    Dear Judith, I bet you made a fabulous Queen Lily, and no doubt your grand daughter enjoyed herself just as much as you :) My sister and I used to have a dressing up box, and really loved spending hours pretending… great escapism! How lovely too for you to have time with the baby of the family as well, and to know that from September you will have her once a week to yourselves! I am sure it will be hard for her mum to leave her though.. 10 months is still very little, and I remember the wrench when I had to return to work with Jack just three months old.. Sad times :( I am glad you enjoyed the blog and will hopefully be able to complete Part 3 this weekend, technology allowing! I’m currently having to cut and paste all my replies as the system doesn’t seem to want to post them! Cant’t sleep cos of the thunderstorm so thought I would give it a try now – not any better sadly! Take care and have a great weekend, love me xx

  25. alison keenan July 18, 2014 at 3:25 am -  Reply

    Crikey Mary, having read your lovely long comment, I so very much hope that you weren’t left all day worrying about Chloe and her overnight expedition in the elements!! What on earth did she have in her rucksack that weighed 4 stone, and how big was the rucksack?! Having read through your list of possible reasons for radio silence, I’ll bet it was that they’d set up camp, were exhausted from their labours and had fallen asleep! Do let me know! I hope that you’ll be able to maintain contact with her and Jack while they’re away on their cricket weeks? Here’s hoping they have better weather for that! Loved reading about your live gig experiences – Take That – Wow! My Lucy would have given her eye teeth to have seen them live, and I also remember Paul Young. Lovely man, and a great voice, whom I was lucky enough to interview on local radio in the 80’s. Talking of luck, I do hope your request for the LG Molly bag was taken seriously by your lovely husband, and that he ordered it at sale price using the link you sent him?! I’ll keep my fingers crossed it’s under the tree by the 25th December. By now you should have had some of this fabulous sunshine, so bearing that in mind, maybe a few more disposable barbecues are in order? You take care, and I do let me know how Chloe got on won’t you, love Ali xx

  26. alison keenan July 18, 2014 at 3:26 am -  Reply

    Mary, clearly I should learn to read through my responses before writing to you! So relieved though to hear that Chloe is fine and apart from feeling somewhat soggy and shoulder sore, she survived her ordeal..Definitely had similarities to my 3 Peak Challenge, although mercifully that was during the daytime! I hope you find her some true waterproofs for the real thing in September! Have a great weekend, love Ali

  27. alison keenan July 18, 2014 at 3:26 am -  Reply

    Dear Susanna, If I had a date for the wedding I would definitely share it with you, but we have quite a few things to sort before we decide when and where! All good though, and something to very much look forward to J I’m glad that you too have had the chance to travel to America and were spoiled by their warm hospitality. Nothing quite like being shown special places by the people who live in them. I hope that you might have another trip planned for this summer, but am glad that you enjoyed the blog, and hope you’ll check out the final leg of the tour next week J Have a great weekend, love Ali xx

  28. alison keenan July 18, 2014 at 3:30 am -  Reply

    My dear Susan, I am so sorry to read your message, and can only pray that the support and treatment available will go a long way towards helping your family with this awful diagnosis.. Try to stay strong, and I know that with the network of support you are part of, you can all help each other.. Thanks for asking about Lucy – her head of department role doesn’t start until September, but she went for her induction day last week and enjoyed it so I am hopeful all will be well for her there. She has worked incredibly hard to get to this point and I’m very proud of her. Thinking of you and hoping that things will ease for you, with love, Ali x

  29. alison keenan July 18, 2014 at 3:34 am -  Reply

    Oh Patricia, I am so sorry to read that you’ve not been able to get away on your long awaited holiday! That is so disappointing as you say, but absolutely mouldy that you were then hit with the excess fee and your GP fee! I very much hope that reading between the lines you aren’t poorly? You are always very welcome to any advice or help I can give to Jam, please just ask. I very much hope that she’s getting some of the feeling back by now, and can see a light at the end of the tunnel.. it will get better, it always does :) You take care, and please do keep in touch, love Ali xx

  30. susan July 18, 2014 at 2:22 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, how was the thunderstorm where you are!? I see you were kept awake! I just can’t get over the tragic air crash news. Just horrific. Don’t know what to say. I thank you for your wishes for the family too. So many types of leukaemia and this is a rough one. But let’s hope as you say. And rightly so you are proud of Lucy. Teaching is worthwhile road! Lots of love x

  31. alison keenan July 21, 2014 at 8:43 pm -  Reply

    Susan it was pretty loud and bright, and yes as you gathered, it kept me awake for quite some time! I too am horrified by the air crash news.. so many lives lost… Just shocking.. My thoughts are with those families, and also with yours who are fighting their own battle – sending you strength and love, Ali xx

  32. Alison keenan July 25, 2014 at 4:32 pm -  Reply

    Dear Debz. I’m sorry I missed this last week, but hope very much that Ainzley is now completely better, and you’ve not had to reach for the carpet shampoo since! I think you should definitely write about Ainzley’s Adventures – the cat who can! They’d be incredibly entertaining and as you say you have endless material! Our holiday now seems a long time away now though. I’ve just finished writing the third and final part which was meant to be shorter but too many pics and info included so put aside a few minutes if you want to read it!!! Do hope you and Neal have had some chance to enjoy the beautiful weather. Take care of yourself and do keep on touch – will look forward to reading your first chapter!! Love Ali x

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