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


Ali in Fat Man SqueezeHowdy! πŸ™‚

I've just been smirking at the heading of my last blog – should have known that as soon as I left British soil the weather would change! πŸ™‚ I am glad though that you've all been basking in balmy temperatures while I've my fair share of wonderfully warm and sunny weather in the good ol' US of A!

Thanks for your lovely comments, and apologies for the late replies, but we've been to places where Wi-Fi is unheard of and Apple is just something they put in a pie! That said, we had a great holiday, visiting seven different States and covering thousands of miles.

We took so many photos and saw so much, that it would be impossible to fit it all in one blog, so I'm going to split it up over the next few weeks … I also wanted to make space to let you know about a brand-new Jewellery Icon which, for the month of July, is from Diamonique and is just beautiful :)  Buckle up, and off we go!

Colin, Ali, Bev and AlFor those of you who have read this blog over the last year, you'll know that Colin and I went to Nashville last June for the CMA's – a huge Country Music Festival – and had such a great time, we decided to return this year. However, we thought we'd try and get to see a little more of America this time, by visiting various folk who live out there, as well as meeting up with the friends we made last year in Nashville. 

Our first port of call was to be North Carolina, where we were going to stay with Bev and Al – Colin's friends who follow his music. From Nashville airport it's about a four hour drive, and yes, we managed to hire a Mustang again this year, although Colin did the driving this time πŸ™‚

HotelWe decided to break the journey up and spend our first night in Chattanooga. The hotel Colin had booked was actually in the refurbished Railway Station which opened in December 1909 but closed down some 61 years later. It was saved from demolition by a group of investors who bought it, along with 30 trains and coaches, for four million dollars.

As permission to renovate the building itself took a while, they transformed the railway coaches into beautiful bedrooms, which are still available to book nowadays. As you can see the main building has been very well preserved, and yes, the actual Chattanooga Choo Choo is there too!

Colin and the Chatanooga Choo ChooI love the song, made famous by the Glenn Miller Band in 1941, and was hoping to see Track 29, but there are only 14 lines into the station … Being nosey, I asked the staff why this was, and they explained that, although over 40 lines came into Chattanooga, the trains had to wait at the switching station until a platform became free – ingenious! πŸ™‚



Ali getting on the trainThey also had a huge miniature railway set up there and, having mooched around that and taken a ride on the trolley bus, we crossed the State line, and headed out to Rock City, Georgia, for lunch. 

This place is nothing to do with music but is literally a naturally formed labyrinth of avenues and alleyways between huge rocks that are set into Lookout Mountain.




The view from Rock CityThere are some unique and quite bizarre rock formations, and also the very famous Lovers Leap.  According to legend, an Indian who loved a woman from a rival tribe, was thrown from there when the affair was discovered! The view from the top enables you to see across seven States – incredible eh?

After a lunch of fried green tomatoes and salad, we headed out of Georgia to North Carolina along the State Highway for a couple of hours, before moving onto the country road that would take us to Murphy. On one side there were steep pine-filled forests, on the other, ferocious white water, and the beginnings of a hydro dam system. It was incredibly beautiful, and largely uninhabited – the only towns we saw consisted of a Chapel and a few wooden houses. The sun shone, and within a couple of hours we arrived at Bev and Al's.

Colin has been corresponding with them over the last year, as they are avid fans of The Sonny Walters Band, and they very kindly invited us to stay for a couple of days before the Festival. They'd moved to Murphy from Florida, and their home is basically in the middle of this stunning landscape. They couldn't have been more welcoming, greeting us with a glass of Apple Pie Moonshine (80% proof) which certainly hit the spot, followed by barbequed chicken on their verandah, while we watched the sunset.

Cherokee National ParkUnfortunately the weather wasn't particularly good the following day – warm but a great deal of rain - and so, after a visit to the local towns of Murphy and Andrew, we stopped at the Cherokee National Park, which was very pretty and tranquil. Spending time with people who actually live in the country you are visiting is definitely the best way to see it and learn about it, and we were both very grateful to Bev and Al for their hospitality. We packed our bags the following morning, but before we left we took photographs of the view and our hosts (the first two pictures at the top of this post) – good times πŸ™‚

The journey back to Nashville took us through sunshine and rain, and the temperature climbed into the high 80s. We stopped at one of the many 'Comfort Stops' and decided to get some lunch at a Waffle House, which along with McDonalds, Taco Bell and Wendy's are their busiest fast food outlets. 

We actually had an all-day breakfast with grits, gravy, bacon and all the trimmings, which was probably very unhealthy, but very good! The girl on the checkout asked us where we were from and what language we spoke! I told her we were from England and spoke English, to which she replied in a Texas accent, β€œNo, I speak English, y'all have a different way of talking”  – I couldn't argue really! πŸ™‚

Driving on the State Highways is a lot nicer than struggling through the congestion on many of our motorways. The roads are pretty clear, although there are a huge number of trucks using them, and the speed limit in many places is just 60 mph. We had been warned that the County Sheriffs are pretty hot on the tail of anyone breaking those limits, so Colin stuck to them religiously!

The only issue we had was making sure we didn't miss the exits, as their road signs appear just a quarter of a mile before the turning, which when you're travelling at speed you can easily pass! However, as navigator, I was on the ball, and more by luck than judgement we arrived safely in Nashville just as the sun was breaking through πŸ™‚

Having returned our lovely Mustang, we met up with Brooke, Brad, Josh and Aleesha, our friends from Kokomo, Indiana, who had driven down early that morning.  As the sun set, we settled by the pool, sipping Margaritas and catching up on all the news. Josh, like Colin, plays in a band, but they are all keen Country Music Fans, and have been coming to the CMAs for the last four years.

The festival was to begin the following day, so we decided not to make it too late a night, planning to meet up the next morning and collect our tickets before the live shows began at lunchtime…

I hope you're still awake after reading this, but I had to break away to tell you about the Diamonique Jewellery Icon that has been chosen for the month of July. Our buyers' most recent trips to Vicenza showed that precious metal woven into mesh designs are not just incredibly exclusive but usually very expensive!

What they have created for you with silver, rose and yellow gold is not just beautiful, but completely believable – see what you think…


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Don't forget to join me on Jewellery Day next Tuesday (1st July) β€“ it's going to be great πŸ™‚

And I'll look forward to hearing from you, with all your news. I promise I will reply, if you have the time to write, and I hope you have a good weekend.

With my love, Ali xx


  1. Julie June 27, 2014 at 6:09 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    What a lovely blog as usual. You both seemed to have a great time. Can’t wait to read the next episode!! I’m glad the girl at the counter didn’t ask me where I was from -with my Welsh accent she wouldn’t/couldn’t understand a thing I said!!
    Grandchildren have just left and am pleased to say Lily is a little better but still in quite a bit of pain and not using her arm much(will keep you updated)
    As you know my favourite two weeks of the year-Wimbledon so I’m glued to the tv.
    Went to see War Horse last night (a belated Xmas pressie from 2012!! that’s how long it’s taken to come to Cardiff)Have you seen it? highly recommended if you haven’t.
    Take care as always
    Speak soon
    Julie XX The Girls XXXXXXXX

  2. loraine plumb June 27, 2014 at 7:48 pm -  Reply

    Sounds like you had a great time on your hols look forward to reading the next instalment we have been to America many times mainly florida and also new york various parts of California and las Vegas so perhaps one day we should try Texas thank you for replying to me when I wrote before about going to malta it must be very time consuming replying to everyone must say how well you are looking best wishes to you love Loraine

  3. Sue Radford June 27, 2014 at 11:59 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Really lovely to hear you had a great time, and so thrilled you’re enjoying life to the full – wonderful!
    Love from Sue Radford

  4. Sue Dyer June 28, 2014 at 11:23 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali, it sounds from part 1 that you and Colin had such a lovely time. Well done both of you and so well deserved. I will look forward to the next instalments and photographs. It’s so great to have you back on our screens again. You and Kathy have been very much missed recently, so glad you will both be back soon. It’s very exciting to have 2 QVC presenters recently engaged and wonderful to have 2 weddings to hear about. So very happy for you and Pipa, as you both deserve much happiness. I am an avid tennis fan, so I am glued to Wimbledon, but am watching the QVC shows I am interested in, on the tablet, at the same time!!! Multitasking or what!!!!! I’m not a football fan, so the tv we bought from QVC, as a TSV,is very handy to have in the conservatory and is much used by my husband!!! Take care Ali and I really love reading your blogs and have read them all, through the good times and your really very tough times. You are an inspiration, yet so very modest. Wonderful Xxxx

  5. Mary June 28, 2014 at 10:12 pm -  Reply

    Welcome back Alison, thoroughly enjoying your travel log and you have certainly been about a bit. The scenery looks wonderful, the food sounds delicious and your friends very welcoming. You certainly packed a lot in and didnt waste a minute. Looking forward to next weeks episode and by the way,I loved the blue giraffe you purchased.
    Sounds like the weather for you has been mostly fine which is about the same here although the rain has eased since you left and its been very hot..sitting in a classroom with twenty computers has almost been too much for my poorly lungs! I’ve been struggling this week and the new nebuliser has come out the box.
    I have been very and golf in ful swing and Jack now finished his exams. He worked at Royal st Georges golf club last week as it was the ladies amateur open and got Β£195 for 25 hours work. He’s well chuffed a d has a carry job on Monday and needs to be there at 6.45 so I will drop him off before I go to school.. He had gas year 11 prom last night. Dressed in black k dinner suit he looked so handsome.
    My twin had a shoulder reconstruction a week ago and has her right arm in a sling and not able to move it for 6 weeks. Two days after her op I drove to Nuneaton with her to coolect her new puppy. Erik is a red and white English bull terrier and will be a playmate for Phoebe who is an 11 year old white bull terrier. So I’m playing taxi, district nurse and carer plus cricket three times s seek. I’m knackered. I tried tweeting a picture of the each last week it looked lovely but not sure I did it right on Monday.
    I’m shattered so bed. Bought the wave dismoniqe ring on with Charlie this evening. Looks incredible. Eyes closing so sending without checking so forgive any double dutch. Love Mary

  6. susan June 29, 2014 at 12:33 am -  Reply

    Dearest Ali….WOW what a beautiful way you have of explaining things I feel like I was with you and Colin on your trip. It sounds amazing. I think there’s something about the Southern States that draws millions of people to visit. I’ve only been to Florida in the south but Nashville, New. Orleans and the Carolinas definitely sound like great places to visit . Look forward to hearing more of your trip..It’s taken me ages to find the blogs on the new site so my apologies for my absence ..My Brother-in-laws health is in steady decline since my last post but we are all staying strong and coping …..Brian and I have just got back from A trip to Norfolk where my Family Tree research led me …I managed to find the churches where my 4th Gt Grandmother and Father were married and to my surprise the church was open so we were able to go inside …it was amazing …I will finish off here Ali as I get too engrossed in it and I’m always aware that it may sound boring to others !
    Take very good care Ali …speak again soon
    Much Love
    Sue Jennings x

  7. Judith Lennon June 29, 2014 at 6:44 pm -  Reply

    Welcome home Ali
    Wow you’ve had a great time and can’t wait for the next instalment of your trip. I hope you kept a written account of your travels which is always nice to look back on. I like to keep scrap books with journals and pictures and it’s surprising how long you can take to revisit the places in your book and the good and great things that happened. Over the years I’ve spent many happy hours compiling these books and my little grand daughter loves looking at them. I did leave a comment on your last but one blog after my return from holiday but no doubt you were busy preparing for your trip. What’s next on the agenda I wonder. Wedding preparations I’m sure aren’t far from your mind – such an exciting time for you both. I have been enjoying the lovely sunshine we’ve been having the last few days. Must keep the tan topped up and using my Ultrasun for protection. I wouldn’t be without it now and my family are converted also. They weekend has not been a sitting in the garden time so my husband and I have had lunch out, a quick visit to the youngest grandchild
    and then home for a chill out. Look forward to the next chapter of your holidays. As always take care and lots of hugs and love

  8. Susan June 29, 2014 at 8:40 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Well it certainly sounds like you’ve had another ball of a holiday! And that’s just part 1! Did you get jetlag this time? That’s the not so nice bit! Hope you have settled into life again and are enjoying all the sport! Look forward to part 2. Susan x

  9. Elaine June 29, 2014 at 10:28 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali i also LOVE country music and i was so lucky to do a deep south tour sixteen years ago. I loved Nashville and we went to a concert at the Ryman Auditorium.Would love to visit again one day fingers crossed. x

  10. Alpa June 30, 2014 at 1:50 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali,
    Thanks for Part 1 of your travels and the photos πŸ™‚ Looks like you and Colin had a fabulous time. Lovely to hear about where you’ve been and what you’ve been up to. How nice to meet up with friends that you met last year in Nashville. That is certainly some view from Bev and Al’s place; how beautiful and peaceful. The hotel that is a refurbished railway station is stunning. Like Mary, I loved your blue giraffe.
    Although the sunshine lifts my spirits, it brings no relief from symptoms. We have to wait for medical treatment for that πŸ™‚ Most recently, I have severe problems in maintaining an upright posture. Not much can be done when you are not upright! I have a severe form of the illness which affects 25% of patients. Just have to keep going.
    Looking forward to Part 2!
    Take care,
    Lots of Love, Alpa xxx

  11. Rhona Fenton July 1, 2014 at 9:16 am -  Reply

    Hi Alison what an amazing blog roll on part 2, your holiday sounded amazing to which took you through beautiful sights, so glad you and colin got to spend time with friends also which helps make it even more special and something that will stay in your hearts! I remember you there last year and how much you both enjoyed it so no surprise you went back this year again πŸ™‚ thank you for adding the pictures also always good to see πŸ™‚ as I write this to you today Rebecca is heading across to America today she left last night for her early start this morning think she is down London way just now on the first part off her trip and fly’s out later this morning across the big pond arriving 8pm our time tonight, she is excited and worried at the same time as this is her first time flying, I wont tell you how I am sitting feeling but am sure you can guess being a mother yourself!! she is away living my dream today as some where I have longed to go since I was 15 and never been its my dream holiday πŸ™‚ so I cant wait to hear all about it when shes back, but she also plans to link up through the computer so we can see and talk to her when shes there amazing what you can do these days, I have also to go out on the door step later this morning see if I can see them passing as we are on the flight path cool if I did πŸ™‚ told her to hang her washing out the window so I know it’s her flying past ha ha! back to your amazing holiday cant wait to hear all about part 2, did you and colin get a chance to meet up with Suzi & Adam this time round? you would have all loved that if you had the time :)I finally got to see your show on Thursday to which you are looking amazing, what have I told you before you and my colin with your tans! you want to see his Tan, I suppose not bad for Scotland ha ha the joy off working outside!! hope you both have a lovely weekend and thank you for sharing your holiday news πŸ™‚ love to you and yours from me and mine Rhona xx

  12. Elaine sallis July 1, 2014 at 2:02 pm -  Reply

    Hi ali
    Lovely to have you back safe and sound. Really enjoyed your blog sounds like you have had a fantastic time. We have just had a long weekend in Dublin with our neighbours. We had a really good time. Hope to hear from you soon.
    Love elaine

  13. susan July 1, 2014 at 8:18 pm -  Reply

    Hi alpa and Alison, alpa it’s nice to hear from you. Sorry you’re not much different. I’m not feeling so clever either at the mo! Take care. Ali I’m just thinking how all you girls have nice tans now! That’s the way to do it. Must be julia’s 3rd exotic hol this year! Has jilly been away? Shes quite a tan too. Didn’t know pipa was engaged too. Lovely. Look forward to part 2 x

  14. Una July 2, 2014 at 5:51 pm -  Reply

    Hello lovelies.
    Great blog Ali. Looks like you had a ball. I wish my experiences of America were the same, but I’ve vowed never to set foot in the place again.
    We hadd to make a very sudden trip over there. For some bizarre reason Melis Grandmother decided she wanted joint custody. Came totally out of the blue, and some lawyer decided it was in her best interest to go to court. I’ve had another few months of absolute hell, as she kept making demands, and I felt it was best not to rock the boat so to speak. I have no idea how the joint custody was going to work, as we live here and she’s thousands of miles away across the Atlantic.
    At the initial hearings, he judge said she could have access as long s she was accompanied by a court appointed person. I was beside myself both times they were away. It was 4 hours, but felt like 4 weeks. I was PETRIFIED she wouldn’t bring Meli back to me.
    Long story short, the judge practically lost the plot, that we had been put through that AGAIN. Especially as the woman had no idea what Melis middle name was or even when her birthday is. Its been beyond horrendous, I’ve no idea how I got through it all on my own. Meli thought she was just on holiday and we were having an adventure. I never want an adventure in my life, ever again.
    Only got home on Monday, so haven’t had a chance to catch up on all your news, but wanted to pop in and say Hello.
    Alpa, you have a diagnosis? Keep your chin up my lovely lady.
    Will speak soon. Meli has decided she wants to “bake” sweet corn!! Oh my!
    My love to you all
    I’m glad to be back home.
    Una xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  15. alison keenan July 2, 2014 at 11:29 pm -  Reply

    Dear Julie, how lovely for you to be able to write from you ‘and the girls’ now that little Isla is here in the world πŸ™‚ Yes, we did have a wonderful time, and it’s been great collating the photographs and reliving the last three weeks! Glad you are enjoying Wimbledon and yes I have seen War Horse on stage. I thought it was magnificent, and incredible how life like the ‘horse’ became! Take care and thank you as always for keeping in touch, love Ali xx

  16. alison keenan July 2, 2014 at 11:32 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Loraine, great to hear from you again πŸ™‚ Florida is somewhere I’ve never visited although Lucy and Sam went with their Dad when they were still quite young. I think the mosquitoes would upset me! πŸ™‚ Lucy of course went to Vegas in February but this is another part of the States I’ve not visited – maybe one year πŸ™‚ It is a pleasure to write back to you, and I truly appreciate that you take the time out to write to me! Have a great weekend, love Ali xx

  17. alison keenan July 2, 2014 at 11:33 pm -  Reply

    My dear Sue it seems a while since I heard from you, and am hoping that, reading between the lines, all is well? Thanks for your kind words about the blog – definitely making the most of things while I’m feeling so much better. You take care, love Ali x

  18. alison keenan July 2, 2014 at 11:35 pm -  Reply

    Dear Sue, yes isn’t it GREAT news about Pipa! Having met her fiancee a while back, it is easy to see how happy they are, and how wonderful their future life together with the children will be πŸ™‚ Ive missed Kathy too – and she’s off to France at the end of the week, so sadly our paths won’t cross again. Still, we plan to have some time together at the end of August so I shall look forward to that. Have a great weekend, and thanks for keeping in touch – Part 2 of the blog next week hopefully, love Ali xx

  19. alison keenan July 2, 2014 at 11:40 pm -  Reply

    Dear Mary, I like you am feeling shattered so this may well be my last reply tonight. Infact I feel even more tired reading about your life over the last month! I am sorry though that you’ve been struggling with your lungs again.. you need to try and take it a little easier. A shoulder reconstruction and new puppy don’t sound as though they will sit very well together…! I do hope your sister will have someone else around to help when she isn’t able. Well done to your Jack, and I am sure he did look grand in his Tux for the prom… I have the photo of Jack in his suit when he was 16.. breaks your heart doesn’t it πŸ™‚ I am glad that you liked the Diamonique ring Charlie was selling – watch out for a little tanzanite ring that I am borrowing for this month – beautiful. You take care, and do keep in touch. Glad you liked my giraffe tweet – I must download the photos I have on my phone! I had forgotten about them. With love, Ali xx

  20. alison keenan July 2, 2014 at 11:44 pm -  Reply

    My dear Sue, I am fascinated by the Family Tree search, and I can completely understand how wonderful it must have been for you to have actually spent time in the same church your ancestors were married in! That sounded like a lovely trip, but I am sorry to hear about your brother-in-law’s continued struggle with his health… Hopefully you will have the opportunity to spend time together in the coming months. So glad you are enjoying the blog – it’s like reliving it each time I read it, or add photos. I can’t quite believe we jammed so much into the time allowed! I know you would love Nashville – but don;t miss out on Memphis if you make the trip, the music there is incredible πŸ™‚ I hope the sun has been shining for you, with love, Ali xx

  21. alison keenan July 3, 2014 at 10:01 am -  Reply

    Hi there Judith, and I’m chuffed that you have enjoyed this first installment of the blog, and was really interested to hear about your scrapbooks and journals. What a lovely idea -I remember seeing a lot of these in our craft hours and always thought they’d be great to keep. I’m sure your grandchildren love looking through them – something great about having a tangible memory I feel. That said, all my blogs are archived, and it’s been fun to read back over the last five years here too πŸ™‚ Delighted to hear that the whole family are converted to Ultrasun – we had a busy day with it yesterday, and I agree it has to be the best and safest way to tan πŸ™‚ I hope the sun continues to shine for you and my best to you and your other half, love Ali xx

  22. alison keenan July 3, 2014 at 10:02 am -  Reply

    Dear Susan, I’ve just begun collating the photos for part 2 – quite a lot to look through! Yes unfortunately the jet lag lasted days, and I was straight back to work, waking up in the middle of the night, and then needing to sleep half way through the day, but I’m fine now πŸ™‚ And of course, it was all worth it for such a corking time! love Ali xx

  23. alison keenan July 3, 2014 at 10:04 am -  Reply

    Hi there Elaine, lovely hear from you and I’m pretty sure that nothing much – apart from the huge A T & T building – will have changed in Nashville since you were there 16 years ago! I think the Ryman Auditorium though is the only one we haven’t visited – will have to put that on the list for another time. So glad that you too love Country Music, and hope that one day you will be able to return there and enjoy the CMA’s. With love Ali xx

  24. Una July 3, 2014 at 10:11 am -  Reply

    Just want to apologise if I offended anyone. I’m sure America is a wondefful place, just my experiences there gave been the worst of my life.
    Una xx

  25. Chris Page July 3, 2014 at 11:55 am -  Reply

    Dear Ali and everyone,
    I’m cursing myself for opening my mouth and tempting fate – I ended up in hospital again! To cut a long story short, an out-of-hours District Nurse had to attend to me in the early hours of the 23rd. She was a bit forceful with what she was doing, and subsequently caused an internal bleed – which led to a bladder infection overnight. I felt lousy all day, and eventually called an ambulance to take me to A&E. Everything was going OK until they gave me an antibiotic I couldn’t be sure I’d had before. It caused me to have an anaphylactic episode – I was shaking uncontrollably, and my airways were closing up as I was also fighting for my breath. It took 2 adrenalin injections and a nebuhaler to stabilise me. I was taken to a ward in the early hours of Tuesday 24th, and then on to the urology ward the day after that. They gave me the right antibiotic for the rest of the week, and I was home last Sunday. I’m on the mend, but I am investigating making a claim for negligence against the District Nurses and the A&E for nearly killing me. I’ve never been so frightened. I tried to watch “24 Hours in A&E” on Channel 4, but I had to turn off because I was starting to get flashbacks. I can still see that sea of faces as they worked on me. The only thing I could think of was not seeing my niece and nephew grow up.
    Glad you’ve had a lovely holiday, Ali, and I look forward to the next instalment of your travelogue.
    Chris xx

  26. Debz July 3, 2014 at 12:04 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Sounds and looks like you had a fantastic time in the good old U.S of A. Looking forward to Part 2.
    Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve been in touch but here I am now and on Neal’s new laptop as he’s at work today so thought I’d take it for a spin!
    Ainzley is still with me, he’s lying at my feet as I type! He’s not a fan of this hot weather at all poor soul. Speaking of fans, we actually bought him one thinking, OK, we’re a bit crazy but if it keeps our 17 year old cat cool then crazy it is!! Well, he hates it! There’s gratitude for you eh? He won’t go anywhere near it no matter what treats we put by it – he even turned down his personal favourite of Elmlea cream so we knew there was no hope! Oh well, Neal now has a nice new fan for his home office!!
    Not much else has happened here really. I’m feeling a bit brighter in myself. Think the warmer weather helps a lot. At least I can sit in the garden and fuss next door’s cats (don’t tell Ainzley!)
    I’d love to go to America at some point. Really would love to see Graceland as am quite a closet Elvis fan! In fact Elvis is Ainzley’s middle name!
    Alpa, I m so sorry that you’re still unwell. I have thought about you often over these past few months. It saddens me that no one seems to be able or willing to ease your suffering. Sending you my love and as always a lick from Ainzley for his special Auntie.
    Una, what can I say? I am lost for words that that woman could put you through even more heartache than you’ve already had. Am so glad Meli thought it was a holiday and that she had no idea of what could have happened. I’m glad common sense prevailed but still, it must have been a terribly frightening experience for you. I hope your life can settle down a bit now and you can get on with enjoying Meli and look to the future.
    Love to all in Ali’s Army.
    Debz & Ainzley (=^-^=) XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  27. Alpa July 3, 2014 at 1:09 pm -  Reply

    Dear Una,
    Lovely to hear from you, although I am horrified that you had to go through all of that AGAIN!! Hercules is certainly no match for you my dear. I’m so glad that you and Meli are safely home again.
    I’m afraid I’m no further forward. Thanks to government policy, the tests required for ME can not be done which means proper medical treatment does not exist here. Since I had pneumonia, the slightest thing I do has a very bad effect on my heart as cardiac output can not meet metabolic demand.
    I had the tests done at the autonomic unit on the 20th/21st March, as a cancellation came up. Although the results are processed straight away, I was told I had to wait at least three months to get them. I have chased them up and I’m still waiting. I was sent an appointment for June 2015, which is ridiculous! Those two days at the hospital were a palaver. I had to see a doctor before the tests, who refused me pain relief, ‘as if I had an allergic reaction the hospital wouldn’t be able to deal with it!’ After the head nurse intervened, I was offered something that the doctor knows I am allergic to. Then, the person doing the tests tried to rush through everything. I had people walking in and out and having whispered conversations that had nothing to do with my tests. I waited so long to get this far and I was livid! I have reported it to my consultant as if they’re doing this to anyone else, it has to stop.
    I’ve been trying to get hold of my consultant since last November. My neurologist refused to update my file with anything to do with ME and said to ask my consultant to do it. I also have incorrect information on my medical files that needs to be removed. What to do except to keep on chasing it up?!!
    How did the baked sweet corn turn out? πŸ™‚
    Lots of love to you and your adorable munchkin.
    Alpa xxx

  28. Alpa July 3, 2014 at 1:19 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali,
    I hope the sun is shining for you today as it is here. I hope to go out for a little after I’ve made myself more human! Living in a second floor flat with no lift makes going out tricky but it has to be done πŸ™‚
    Susan, thanks for thinking of me. Sorry you’ve not been feeling that great x
    Love to Debz, Jilly, Janet, Helen, Sue, Liz, Elaine and all in Ali’s Army x
    Ali, hope you will have a chance to take it easy after your hectic adventure and being back to work so soon! Lovely to hear that Pipa is engaged and to catch up on everyone’s news.
    Take care,
    Lots of Love, Alpa xxx

  29. martin forbes bucksburn aberdeen watching via sky tv July 3, 2014 at 5:43 pm -  Reply

    glad you enjoyed your holiday to nashville alison despite your average weather mixed hope your sons and daughter are well hope you dont mind me asking

  30. alison keenan July 4, 2014 at 7:54 am -  Reply

    Gosh what a lot of Susan’s there are this week πŸ™‚ Hi Susan, so glad that you enjoyed part 1 of the blog – have managed to download the rest of my photos and add Colin’s to the pot too, so I have the pick of the bunch! Will hopefully post part 2 at the beginning of next week. Yes, I did get jetlag this time, which to be honest took pretty much a week to get over, but am feeling fine now, and glad of a few days home to catch up with things πŸ™‚ Have a fab weekend, love Ali xx

  31. alison keenan July 4, 2014 at 7:58 am -  Reply

    Dear Judith, so sorry missed your comment the other week, and will try to check back and catch up all you’ve been up to πŸ™‚ I think your scrapbooks sound wonderful, and I’m not surprised your grandchildren love looking through them. I have all my grandparents photo albums, which are fabulous, but sadly don’t have any comments, so I’m not sure who everyone is, or where the photos were taken. That said, they are still things I treasure. So glad you have time to keep your tan topped up and are finding ultrasun works for you. It certainly stopped me from burning while away, and like you I’m trying to keep my colour now with this fabulous weather πŸ™‚ Take care, and my best to you and your husband, love ali xx

  32. alison keenan July 4, 2014 at 8:01 am -  Reply

    Dear Elaine I think I must have pressed the send button too late on my laptop as I lost my initial comment to you, but I am glad that you have enjoyed the blog, and would certainly have some shared memories having visited the deep South some years back. I don’t imagine Nashville will have changed that much apart from the A T & T building which is very impressive πŸ™‚ I think the Ryman Auditorium though is one of the only places we DIDN’T visit! Have a great weekend, and I will write again next week, with love, Ali xx

  33. alison keenan July 4, 2014 at 8:04 am -  Reply

    Alpa, I was so sorry to hear how uncomfortable you have been, and worse still, that very little can be done to alleviate your symptoms. As always, although I know it must seem like a never ending battle, I sincerely hope that you are getting the medical support you so badly need. Glad to hear though that you are enjoying the sunshine, and the blog, and I think I’ll have to post my photograph of the blue giraffe next week, as though who don’t Tweet, won’t know what we’re talking about!!! πŸ™‚ Yes, the Chattanooga Hotel was splendid, and we have loved looking back over the enormous number of photos we took while there. You take care, and know that we are all here for you, love Ali xx Big hug

  34. alison keenan July 4, 2014 at 8:08 am -  Reply

    Dear Rhona, by the time you read this your daughter will no doubt be safely in The States, and may well have skyped you to let you know! I am certain she will have some fabulous adventures there, and I would love to think that maybe some day in the not too distant you will realise your dream and have time out there too – flights, car hire, and hotels really aren’t too desperately expensive and the rate of exchange is good at present too, so fingers crosssed! Yes, we did indeed see Suzi and Adam and stayed with them for the last 5 days of the holiday…. more to come on that! I hope that the sun shines in Scotland for your this weekend, and congratulate your Colin on his tan – I’m sure he looks very fit!! πŸ™‚ Take care and do keep in touch, love ali xx

  35. alison keenan July 4, 2014 at 8:09 am -  Reply

    Dublin’s Fair City is one of my favourites Elaine, and I am sure you had a ball there. Glad you enjoyed reading the blog, Part 2 and more photos to come! Have a restful weekend, love Ali xx

  36. alison keenan July 4, 2014 at 8:15 am -  Reply

    Hi Susan, yes wonderful news about Pipa, and the wedding to look forward to! We’re still in the early stages of planning ours πŸ™‚ I saw Julia just the other day and she looked well, although Jilly is someone I’m very rarely on shift with, so sadly I have to make do with seeing her on the screen! Yes, I’m working with the faux tans to maintain mine, although these last few days have helped πŸ™‚ Take care, love ALi xx

  37. alison keenan July 4, 2014 at 8:22 am -  Reply

    My dear Una, I was horrfied to read about all that you have been through, and how frightening this time must have been, particularly because you were facing it alone. It’s also very hard to keep a brave face on proceedings, when inside you’re breaking apart… Well done you for keeping things running so smoothly that Meli thought you were on an adventure.. more like a nightmare for you I am certain. Thank Heavens the judge saw reason, and understood the situation. I pray you never have to experience anything like that again, and having told Colin what you have been through his words were “therein lies the strength of a woman”… and you are one remarkable woman. Bless you Una for always turning things around, and for never giving in when many of us would. I hope you have a wonderful summer ahead with Meli, and will be able to put this last month behind you. Take care, and I know love and hugs will be coming from ALL the Army, Ali xx

  38. Alpa July 4, 2014 at 1:34 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali,
    It never fails to amaze me how you keep up with all of us πŸ™‚ No joy on the medical support front I’m afraid. My plan to get in contact with the clinic in Canada has been delayed, as there always seems to be too much to deal with.
    I hope Colin and Lucy, Sam and Jack are all well. Look forward to seeing your blue giraffe again πŸ™‚
    Debz, lovely to hear from you. Bless you for thinking of me. Have been thinking of you as well my lovely. Sounds perfectly sane to get a fan for Ainzley πŸ™‚ Sending you a big hug and a special stroke for my favourite Ainzley cat x
    Hope everyone has a good weekend and that the sun shines.
    Take care, Ali,
    Lots of Love, Alpa xxx

  39. Jilly July 4, 2014 at 3:30 pm -  Reply

    Your back Ali!!!! and how lovely to see you looking just fabaroo on the Diamonique show – just wonderful (also love the white lace dress you had on – you really looked stunning with your tan) – and so lovely to read part 1 of your holiday trip and to hear all about the jolly time you have both had. Love the station hotel – I looked at the picture before I read the blog and thought that looks like a posh place!!! Just so good to get all your catch up and to hear how wonderful the holiday was – one problem – how do you beat that?? Although you will be planning the wedding next and cannot wait to hear all about it.
    Alpa so sorry you are still not finding the help that you need – one wonders what it takes to make the powers that be sit up and listen to what you have to say and how poorly you feel.
    We are off tomorrow to the Lakes for two weeks and although the weather has changed today it does not matter. We have been counting down and cannot wait.
    I shall look forward to reading part 2 while we are away but again it is just so great to have you back Ali and now I am going to read part 1 again just so that I did not miss anything! – Love Jilly XX

  40. Sue Radford July 5, 2014 at 12:31 am -  Reply

    Hi again Ali,
    Yes, all is well with me and mine – many thanks for asking. Looking forward to my forthcoming holiday with my daughter and family.
    Alpa, even though I don’t write regularly these days, I often think about you and everyone else in Ali’s Army. Keep strong Alpa!
    Una, I echo Ali’s comments – you are one very strong lady, and I admire you greatly. I hope things will now settle down for you.
    Ali, I forgot to mention how very happy I was to hear of your engagement, and your wedding plans SO PLEASED for you!!!
    Love from Sue Radford xx

  41. Una July 5, 2014 at 12:35 am -  Reply

    Dearest Ali
    Thank you so much for your lovely words. Today has been absolutely awful. I think I’ve been on auto pilot, and everything just hit me like a ton of bricks. Meli was away to a party this afternoon, and I’m so glad she wasn’t here. I just couldn’t hold it together longer than 10 minutes at a time. Feel better for it now, and thank goodness for Liz Earle eye bright!
    I just couldn’t let her see how petrified I was when we were away. She is so intuitive, and its not fair to her. More than once, i put her to bed at night, then had an hour long shower which was spent crying my eyes out.
    I’ve never been so relieved to be home in my wee house. We are only here for 3 more weeks though, then the lease is up. My sisters friend has a lovely flat which she is going to rent to me. Its beautiful, in a lovely quite area, with an easy to keep garden. Its going to be perfect for Meli. Its 2 minutes walk from the school she will be going to, and 2 of her nursery friends live in the same complex. I can’t wait now. I think I will feel really safe there.
    I’m not sure about being strong, I think stubbornness has a lot to do with it! I will just not give her up, for anything. I couldn’t protect her mummy, but I’m sure as hell protecting her. I’m having to keep myself in check constantly, as I can’t be too overprotective either. I want her to have the same happy childhood her mummy had. She’s been through enough, and I have to make it “normal”, whatever normal is.
    I’ve still no idea what that woman was thinking. Neither did the 2nd judge we saw. He was so kind and not at all what you would imagine a judge should be.I’m glad he was on my side though, cos he tore strips off the other side. He actually called me the day we were leaving, and apologised for the justice system. He said it should never have even gone to court, but as with everything, some unscrupulous lawyer wanted to make some money.
    Its over now though, and we are safe and sound.
    Alpa my lovely, you have been through it too. Its hard to believe you are still being treated this way. They have to listen to you. You must feel like you’re hitting your head agaknst a brick wall. Absolutely shocking and disgusting. You suffering enough as it is. Meli and I send lots of hugs your way. If melis hugs don’t help, nothing will. She’s a hugger that girl!! Lol.
    Debz, thank you. I’m know we are going to be happy and settled when we move, just can’t wait to get in now. We are going to see the flat again on Monday. Meli is looking forward to choosing the paint for her bedroom. It won’t be hard, its going to be pink!!! Love to you and Ainzley.
    My love to Ali’s Army. What would I do without you.
    Una XXX
    P.s. Alpa, the ‘baked” sweet corn was delicious lol!!!

  42. alison keenan July 6, 2014 at 10:33 pm -  Reply

    Una, you don’t need to apologise – anyone would understand considering all that you’ve been through, how awful this time has been. You take care, and stay strong… one day at a time… with love always, Ali xx

  43. alison keenan July 6, 2014 at 10:52 pm -  Reply

    Chris! You poor thing! Not only does it sound as though you have had the most ghastly time, but that with the proper care, you would have avoided most of it! I very much hope that if you do pursue this that you will get proper compensation for all that you have been through. Just take it easy, and look forwards rather than back… Your neice and nephew are no doubt very relieved that you are on the mend – as I am ! Please let me know how you are getting on, and I will be in touch, love Ali xx

  44. alison keenan July 6, 2014 at 10:56 pm -  Reply

    Debz, how lovely to hear from you! πŸ™‚ You have been in my thoughts over these last months, and I am glad to hear that Ainzley is still going strong, and that you are able to get out and enjoy the sunshine as and when it deigns to warm your days πŸ™‚ So gald that it has the same kind of positive effect for you that it does for me… I can feel it in my bones, and it is has a healing effect – well that’s the way I look at it! I am sure both Alpa and Una will be pleased to hear from you, and will also appreciate the unification and support that comes from all those of you in Ali’s Army πŸ™‚ A force to be reckoned with! I hope that Neal is coping better now since his loss, and that you can both look forward to the summer together. With love, Ali xx

  45. alison keenan July 6, 2014 at 11:06 pm -  Reply

    Alpa, reading between the lines, I know that it’s a huge effort for you to get yourself out there, but it is SO worth it, and I am sure that the sun’s healing rays will make your day πŸ™‚ Take care, love Ali xx

  46. martin forbes bucksburn aberdeen watching via sky tv July 8, 2014 at 5:28 pm -  Reply

    glad you enjoyed your holiday depite the mixed weather the school holidays have started in aberdeen busy so far roll on august when they go back the little darlings.hope you arewell alison and your sons and daughter as well are well

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