So much to do, so little time…


Marianne, Len, Nick and meWater water everywhere… ! What a week that was for weather eh? I so very much hope that wherever you were you managed to avoid the enormous upheaval that flooding brings, and that your home is still dry and warm and undamaged!

Thanks as always for keeping me posted on your events and adventures, and as we draw ever closer to 'that time of the year' again, I very much hope that are you are a great deal more organised than I am!

Sadly I am still waiting to exchange on the house, and so can't confirm a moving date, or plan ahead at all. Funny thing is though, as with everything, life carries on around you, and so I know it will happen at some point in the future, just a little later than I had hoped!

A date that had been in my diary for many months was my Aunty Eileen's 90th birthday, and so Colin and I set the Sat Nav to Bradford Upon Avon, and headed off last Friday to celebrate with her and other members of my family.

Flooding in BradfordIf you remember, it was Friday that saw the worst of the flooding in the South West, and so with some trepidation, flippers and a canoe we headed down the M4 unsure of what we were heading into!

We'd called ahead to the hotel and we were given an alternative route thus avoiding the main areas of flooding, and luckily the river water had receded that night allowing us to have a wonderful meal in The Three Gables Restaurant in Bradford itself. Not sure if you can quite see the water level in this photo, but it was pretty scary!

It was still raining on Saturday morning, but we only had a 15 mile drive to where Aunty Eileen lives, and the main roads were fine. Aunty Eileen is my mother's eldest sister, and her daughter Marianne, son Colin, my mum and Joe, and my sister Jenny were all there to join in the celebrations.

Mum, Jenny and IMarianne is 10 years older than me, and I remember staying with her and husband Len in 1976 and babysitting their son Nick, who was just three years old then! He's grown a tad since then as you'll see in this photo (note Marianne's Bob Mackie sweater!) and as most of us hadn't seen each other for over 10 years it was wonderful to relax and chat, as there was a lot of catching up to do!

I also got to meet our second cousins, and Jenny and I reckoned that the last time we had been together was at her wedding in 1983! They live on the Isle of Wight now, and are quite a bit younger than us, but we all got on famously.

Once we move, we will be significantly closer to the whole family, and I so am very much hoping that we can finally spend some more time together, as we need to make some new memories 🙂

Mum and Aunty EileenI hope you enjoy the photos – oh and the caps are just a few from my cousin Colin's collection!

You know I mentioned last week that I'd been driving around on a fraction of the tyre pressure I should have been, well clearly I needed to have checked it again!

While driving into work yesterday – fast lane of the M1, heated seat on, listening to Michael Buble (as you do…) I heard a loud bang and then the steering began juddering, I could see smoke billowing out of the back of the car, and bits of rubber flying all over the road…!

Trying to slow down and move across three lanes with limited steering was terrifying, but I think the Stig would have been proud of me as I coasted to a rather bumpy halt on the hard shoulder. As you can see the tyre was well and truly flat, and when it was taken off there was a huge hole in it where a nail must have been. The inside was totally shredded and smelt dreadfully of burned rubber.

Flat tyreThe AA man who rescued me was lovely though, and having put the spare on he followed me to the services so he could give me my damaged wheel and I could replace the tyre. Colin had called ahead and found a garage close to QVC that could fix it, but he then had to head out and follow me there, as the spare developed a puncture!!

The AA man could only carry out a temporary repair so we weren't sure it'd make the journey! But for those of you who saw my rather tardy entrance to the Diamonique hour yesterday will know that I did get to work, thanks to my man who drove me there, then stayed until the car was fixed, drove it back to QVC and left the keys for me… Bless him 🙂

Well, the sun is shining through the window, the frost has melted, and I must get ready for work. I can't quite believe that if we do exchange later today, this time next week will be my last day in the little cottage… I've had the best and some of the worst times of my life here in the last two years, but this has been my haven – a place to recover and recharge the batteries, and now it's time to move on… to whatever is round the corner… 🙂

I hope you have a great weekend, and it'll be lovely to catch up on all your news.

With my love as always, Ali xx


  1. Joanna Downey November 29, 2012 at 6:40 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali, You obviously had a good weekend despite the weather and how wonderful to be celebrating a 90th birthday. I can’t imagine how devastating it must be to see your home ruined by filthy water and to know that it’s going to be months before you can return albeit to a very different home from the one you left. I can remember a person from the Environment Agency being on the news in March saying that the UK was so dry we needed it to rain every day until Christmas to replenish the supply… It seems to me that every stage of buying a house brings its own stress, like you Ellie and David are in the final stages; they have signed umpteen pieces of paper, made lots of lists and have even bought Christmas decorations – if it takes more time and they don’t move in until the weekend before the holiday I know that tree will go up even if the kettle can’t be found and the bed isn’t made! As I wrote in your last blog I’ve had Christmas “done” since the October half-term holiday. I’m not sure that this is actually the best way to do it because I keep seeing things I’d like to buy and find it hard not to keep on spending, I suppose that does mean that I keep a stock of gifts but the bank balance doesn’t look so good. I’ve seen you on a few shows recently and you look fantastic. I saw a repeat of a YBF show earlier this week, I’d just put on all my make-up when I heard Stacey’s heartfelt words about Amica, needless to say it was a quick repair job and of course I’m sending lots of love and support to that lovely girl. A couple of weeks ago I started to feel very tired and had other strange symptoms so I’m now waiting for the test results, the fact that I’m back to full rude health points to it having been a virus but it’ll be reassuring to know that everything is ok. Hopefully we’re going to the Christmas market in Bath on Saturday, we’ll meet up with Ant and Bex and brave the crowds! Love from Jo x

  2. Julie November 29, 2012 at 7:16 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Lovely blog and photo’s as usual. You’re so right about the weather. Only today there were 5 accidents in our small village-one lady (driving) skidded on the ice and ended up in a river. If it had been a few days ago she would have been swept away.
    You were so lucky with your tyre and to have so many men helping you!! We had a “blow out” once over the August Bank Holiday-on the M25 and towing a caravan-can you imagine??
    Hope the house move goes ahead and I agree so much has happened to you at the cottage. So much to do this time of year too so it must be stressful. We actually put the tree up today,presents wrapped and turkey bought!!
    Have sent you a message-about going’s on!! As you know had to take today off-not through choice and feel guilty about it.
    Take care and speak soon
    Julie x Lily xxxxxx

  3. martin forbes bucksburn aberdeen November 29, 2012 at 7:20 pm -  Reply

    busy as always alison
    hope you are well

  4. Debz & Ainzley November 30, 2012 at 4:12 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Ali
    Neal is asleep so I thought I’d nick his (my) laptop and give you the latest Ainzley update.
    We set off early for the vets in case of traffic. Suddenly a rather ominous noise came from Ainzley’s carrier. It sounded like he was trying to be sick. However, anticipating this, I had taken his food up the night before at around six o’clock instead of seven plus he hadn’t been eating much, so there was nothing to “bring up” You should have seen the look on his face it was priceless!! He was clearly doing his best to make us turn back but he was let down by his own poor appetite!! I tried not to laugh at him as this would only have upset him further but I did have a snigger behind my hand – which I think he heard!!
    We got him there clean and dry which is unusual and the receptionist greeted us with her usual “Here comes trouble!!” (I hope she means Ainzley as Neal and I are very well behaved!!)
    The vet saw Ainzley and listened to his heart, felt his undercarriage which, as usual, got him a good old hiss for his trouble!! The vet then sedated him as he has to have some blood taken and you have no chance of coming at Ainzley with a needle unless he’s spark out!! Well, not exactly asleep as Ainzley refuses to sleep but he’s too dopey to bite!!
    We collected him 2 hours later to be told that he had been “surprisingly well behaved other than hissing and swearing a bit” Vet said some of Ainzley’s back teeth were sore so he’d cleaned them but said that they may need to come out if they still trouble him. We just need to wait for the blood test results now to see if his liver readings are OK.
    Ainzley’s appetite is improving so cleaning the plaque off his teeth seems to be working. I’m more inclined to think that he has no intention of being so empty of food again as all his “weapons” had gone – no vomit or other bodily functions to cause maximum disruption to all. It’s a good job I love him is all I can say!!
    I hope that you’ve finally exchanged on your house now so you can start to plan things. As you say your cozy cottage was there to wrap it’s arms around you for the good and bad things life has thrown your way but now you need to move on and make new memories in a new place for the next chapter of your life.
    Love to all in Ali’s Army. Have a good weekend everyone. Wrap up as they reckon it might snow.
    Lots of love and licks
    Debz & Ainzley (=^-^=) XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    P.S. Alpa, if you are reading this, you are in my thoughts and prayers. XXXXX

  5. Mrs Janet Jones November 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali, what a busy week you have had.What a knight in shining armor your Colin is. I hope as I write this you have exchanged contracts and your house move is imminent so you are in for Christmas and as you say make new memories in your new home with the lovely Colin. I gather from what you have said that your travel time to work will be greatly reduced. Will you be far away from your children? I know what you mean about your little cottage being your sanctuary when you were ill,I feel the same about my home.
    Can you believe I start a new job on Monday, receptionist in a hospital the hours are as and when but I hope in the not too distant future I will get set hours and a permanent contract,we will have to wait and see!! I will continue to volunteer for Cancer Research, and what with my grandchild due February 18th I will be a busy bee! I am half way through my Christmas shopping and really should write my cards soon, speaking of which could you let me know the new QVC address so I can send one to you, thanks.
    Hope you managed to get tickets for Michael McIntyre he really is very funny.
    Take care Ali and next time you blog I feel sure you will be in your new home, speak soon Love Janet xxx

  6. Sue Radford November 30, 2012 at 9:07 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Glad your Auntie Eileen enjoyed her 90th (she certainly doesn’t look her age). It must have been extra special having you, your Mum and Sister there. It will be even more extra special for you to be moving nearer to them, as I agree making memories with loved ones is important as time flies by far too quickly.
    I feel so bad for all those who have suffered from the recent floods – my heart goes out to them. The weather has changed so much these last years, not to mention the seasons. We seem to have two seasons now – a looooong spring and an even looooooooonger combined autumn/winter. Summer seems to have disappeared altogether aaaargh!!!!
    I hope you’ll be ‘exchanging’ on the house soon. It won’t be long now and you’ll be happily settled into your new home, and more importantly, new life – just what the doctor ordered!!!
    I love the build up to Christmas, and enjoy being amongst the bustling crowds (yes, I know what you must be thinking, I’m mad LOL). The grand children are adding even more excitement, and I’m really looking forward to watching them in their school play – will have to take lots of tissues with me LOL!! My beautiful granddaughter sang one of the songs for me when I visited her this week and I felt all sort of emotions listening to her – it was so lovely.
    You’re looking so well Ali – I love the photograph taken with your Sister and Mum – really lovely!
    Oh! must go now as the final of “I’m a Celebrity get me out of here” has just come on – I’ve loved every minute of it! Hope gorgeous David wins!!!
    Take care,
    Love from Sue Radford xx

  7. mary morphy December 1, 2012 at 7:46 am -  Reply

    Good morning Ali, its a freezing ‘scrape the ice off the car’ morning in Westgate with a very stiff breeze but thankfully no rain. It’s 7.15 on Saturday and i am writing this before my walk on the beach as after that, I may be numb for several hours! I hope all of Ali’s army are dry, safe and have not affected by the awful weather. I also hope that you have signed contracts and are packing boxes as we speak!!
    I am thrilled that despite the misgivings of the weather you managed to see all your family at your Aunty’s birthday gathering. I love family get togethers but it’s a shame that they do not happen more regularly; we met up with my cousins and aunt in the summer and we had not seen them for at least 5 years and they only live in Dulwich but busy lives, children and work all seem to get in the way. I remember as kids we would always have large gatherings but we lived in London then and so did the rest of the family. I remember vividly my uncle puffing on his pipe, filling the room with thick smoke, playing dreadful oompah music on an enormous double tape machine and my auntie puffing on her ciggie telling him not to puff his pipe ‘near the children’!
    Well as you know it was the big Christmas shopping weekend last week, not just on QVC but in Milton Keynes for me and my sister. I am pleased to say that all presants have now been bought and are sitting in bags on the bed in my sisters spare room waiting for me to organise and wrap. We both managed to order the L’occitane TSV while we were away and got chatting to the staff in the L’occitane shop who once shown the TSV on the QVC app ordered their own! we also took full advantage of the free rose wine on offer and as we spent a small fortune between us managed at least a couple of glasses each…what great hospitality.
    However, despite the success of the shopping our Travel Lodge was awful..I suppose you get what you pay for but we had not stayed in this particular one before..I get the cheapest within 15 miles of the shopping centre…and suffice to say we are going upmarket next year and booking a Premier Inn! My bed was the boingyist (I think thats a word) bed ever..very trampoline like and whenever I turned or moved the springs sprang and made a dreadful noise. My sisters sofa bed was no better and she spent the night clinging to the edge like her life depended on it. It was great to get away though, batteries recharged ready for the sight of boxes of Xmas decs that greeted me when I returned home…trees are up..outsidelights going in my bushes today!!
    Oh one more thing….sadly I will not be getting my Lulu bag..husband has been on web and researched customer feedback (how shocked was I)and as it got three out of five stars isnt convinced. BUT its not a bad thing as he has bought me the Prestigio 8inch tablet (TSV) which I sm thrilled with so can’t wait for Xmas day. Luckily, I am not cooking dinner and my contribution of homemade mince pies (with homemade boozy mincemeat)means I can have a play in the morning. I can get my Lulu myself maybe when she has a TSV next year…. Have a fab weekend. Love Mary

  8. Sue Jennings December 3, 2012 at 9:35 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali…..What a week you have had..We have been so lucky up here in Cheshire lots of rain but thankfully no flooding…today was very strange the sky was half brilliant blue and half grey and then the hailstones came it was strange to look ahead to the beautiful blue sky whilst being pelted with hail..the joys of the British weather. My daughter is driving down to Teddington tomorrow for an interview which is 208 miles from here so i hope the weather will be kind to her, if it is that’s one less worry for me. I hope you get to exchange contracts soon it must be frustrating for you as I’m sure you want to get settled in your new home…How brave are you handling the tyre burst on the motorway you did very well keeping control like that (clever girl). I’m so enjoying my driving whilst listening to Colin’s tracks (love them I do) it sounds like you had a great time at your Aunties birthday bash its nice catching up with family I love talking about the memorable times …I was telling some friends the other day about a memory I have from the 60’s which involved me getting a tape recorder for Christmas it was one of those state of the art ones with two huge reels of tape haha anyway I used to put it under the very large wooden table in the living room which was covered with a table cloth that almost touched the floor (a great hiding place) so there I was sat waiting for one of my many Great Aunts to come in for their daily visit..Aunty Lilly was first so I started my tape recorder and taped her conversation then she left and Aunty Annie arrived so I taped her conversation too … it was so exciting for me sat under the table then I was rumbled and I got into such a lot of trouble for it as they had both said unkind things about each other and I had it all on tape !!! Anyway Ali I will speak again soon..take very good care ..sending much love.
    Sue Jennings

  9. alison keenan December 5, 2012 at 5:09 pm -  Reply

    Jo, as always lovely to hear from you, and I too remember that very same person from the Environment Agency saying that the UK was so dry we needed rain every day until Christmas! Well we had snow this morning too! I am pleased for your daughter that she and David are close to sorting their house purchase out – we actually exchanged last minute yesterday, but because of an issue with clearing the property we won’t be able to move in until the 18th December – I think it will very much be a case of tree up irrespective of beds being made 🙂 I hope that by the time you read this you will have had your test results back and will once again be in ‘rude health’ – always best to get things checked out tho as you say. I hope that you enjoyed the Christmas Market, and it stayed dry for you. Take care, and do let me know all is well if you get a mo 🙂 Love Ali xx

  10. alison keenan December 5, 2012 at 5:13 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Julie – and Lily of course! 🙂 Thanks for your comment – yes I did feel very lucky to have got away so lightly… I can’t imagine it was as easy for you towing a caravan! I have to say though, the thought of skidding off the road and into a river gives me the horrors – poor lady, thank heavens the waters had receded or it could have been fatal! I am so envious of you having put the tree up, although I did order my Christmas meat from QVC last month, so that’s all sorted. As you will see, we’re not moving until the 18th December so christmas is going to be pretty last minute – especially as I’m working on the 18th, 23rd and into the 24th! 🙂 Watch this space….! Do hope you’re feeling a little better these days, love Ali xx

  11. alison keenan December 5, 2012 at 5:14 pm -  Reply

    Hello Martin – better to be busy rather than bored I say! I am well, and hope that you are too. Ali x

  12. alison keenan December 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm -  Reply

    Debz bless you for updating us all on Ainzley’s latest visit to the vets! The friendly greeting from the receptionist made me smirk… although I’m sure both you and Neal are exceptionally well behaved! I do hope Ainzley’s liver readings will be OK, and that he won’t have to have his teeth out – as you say it’s a good job you love him, and look after him so well 🙂 Thank you for your lovely words about the cottage – it has very much been a security blanket, but time now for a new adventure and next chapter of my life – moving on the 18th December will be the start, and I will keep you up to date with how it all goes 🙂 We got the snow they forecast – enough to make the fields look beautiful but the Lane treacherous! This time I have air in my tyres, so all should be well. Love to you and Ainzley, and keep in touch, Ali xx

  13. alison keenan December 5, 2012 at 5:23 pm -  Reply

    Janet, Congratulations on your new job! How have the first few days been? I am sure they will want to keep you on long term, and I hope it’s a job you enjoy. I’m delighted to be able to tell you that we exchanged contracts yesterday evening, but because of one thing and another, we can’t actually move in until the 18th December! Still, there will be time to get a tree, and yes, my journey time to work is drastically reduced, so that’s a definite bonus. I’m also a lot closer to Kathy and Anne Dawson which is nice 🙂 Sadly didn’t manage to get the tickets for Michael McIntyre, but I’m sure there’ll be another tour another time. You take care, and thanks for keeping in touch as always, love Ali xx

  14. alison keenan December 5, 2012 at 5:28 pm -  Reply

    Sue, it was indeed lovely to spend time with my mum and my sister – we rarely get together as a family – but now that we’ve exchanged contracts, and move on the 18th, the distance between us will be shortened dramatically so hopefully that will change. I so envy you having a school play to watch – I remember really clearly my three in various guises – Princess Sita, a tree, a sheep, Joseph and a King! All wonderful to attend, but plenty of tissues needed! I hope you weren’t too disappointed that David lost out to Charlie in ‘I’m a Celebrity’?! How those girls ate those unmentionable things I will never know – I gagged when I found an eyelash in a casserole once!! Love to you and yours, and do let me know how the school plays go, ali xx

  15. alison keenan December 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm -  Reply

    Mary, I have such a clear picture of Westgate on an icy Saturday morning – thank you for it – I must try and travel there again one day: maybe when it’s warmer! Sounds as though you had a successful shopping trip to MK – just found out that they are opening a new River Island and a huge Primark there too – and I’m moving away on the 18th!! Never mind eh, I am very much an online shopper! 🙂 It sounds as though your husband has spoiled you which is nice, and that you are going to have a relaxing Christmas, with fab mince pies to look forward to! Oh, and do watch out for the next Lulu TSV – I’m sure it will be a good one. Love to you Mary, Ali xx

  16. alison keenan December 5, 2012 at 5:35 pm -  Reply

    Sue, I was very relieved to hear that you’ve had no flooding in Cheshire – snow maybe? I awoke to a fair bit this morning, but the sun melted most on the fields although it’s freezing again now. Luckily the move is now not until the 18th December, otherwise we might have got caught in this snowfall today – reminiscent of when I moved in here two years ago! The story of you taping your aunt’s conversations was hilarious! It’s just the sort of thing I’d love to have done, and reminded me of a very uncomfortable ‘moment’ when a member of the family, no longer with us, thought they’d switched the video camera off, and proceeded to rant on about various other members of the family while it was still recording. Imagine their faces when we plugged it into the TV and all sat round to watch – and listen!!! Ooooops! I hope that you are getting ready for Christmas, and not too stressed, and thank you for taking the time out to write to me – I’ll keep you in touch with the move! Love Ali xx

  17. Sue Jennings December 6, 2012 at 10:29 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali it’s me again just a little add on to my post…I mentioned a few posts ago that I was learning to drive…we’ll I passed my driving test today… Not bad for 56 years old hey xx much love xx
    Sue Jennings

  18. Debz & Ainzley December 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Just another Ainzley update. His liver readings were low enough for him to be taken off his liver medication!! Such a relief I can’t tell you! We thought his liver would be the thing that would finish him off. I know he has a bad heart too but that condition (for now at least touch wood) seems to have stabilised but his liver was troublesome. Vet says it might only be temporary but at least it’s 3 months with fewer drugs to take which will in itself do him (and me!!) good.
    Good luck on the 18th. Hope the move goes smoothly. Don’t forget to pack your kettle, mugs, tea, coffee and milk in a box and take it with you so at least you can warm up and have a rest with a nice hot drink! When we moved it took us 3 days to find our kettle!!
    Take care and a Merry Christmas to you and all of Ali’s Army.
    Lots of love and festive licks

  19. Sue Radford December 7, 2012 at 6:57 pm -  Reply

    Hi Sue Jennings,
    Love from Sue Radford xx

  20. Lorraine December 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm -  Reply

    Hi Lovley Ali, Please may I ask if the dress you were weating in Ken Pavers hour (5pm Monday 10 dec – black with v neck and lovely lace sleeves) is a QVC one and if so who is it by?
    Thanks hun
    Have a wonderful Christmas and a healthy 2013

  21. Alison Keenan December 11, 2012 at 12:05 am -  Reply

    Sue WELL DONE! That’s a terrific result! The world will now become a much easier place for you to navigate 🙂 I think it’s terrific news – thanks for sharing. Am drowning in a sea of removal documents, bank statements, work schedules and Christmas presents! Hope to write a short blog in the next few days. Love to you xxx

  22. Alison Keenan December 11, 2012 at 12:10 am -  Reply

    Debz it seems like good news all round for Sue you and Ainzley this week!! I am so relieved for you. I should imagine that being off the lover medication will help his heart too, so that’s good news all round. Completing on the 17th and then the move on the 18th when I am doing the launch from midnight til 2am! It’ll be a relief to flee the boxes by then! First thing after a cup of tea wil be the tree and colin and I have put aside a huge box for the decs and presents. Just orderd yesterday’s TSV in readiness for those cold nights! Take care and a very happy Christmas to you, Neal and of course Ainzley, with love Ali and family xxxx

  23. Chris Page December 11, 2012 at 3:26 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali
    Glad you’re OK after the tyre “excitement”. I remember several years ago, I was driving to Stevenage and my car just “died” at 70mph – with a lorry behind me! I got it on the shoulder, and managed to restart it. The RAC came to Stevenage College and checked it over. And I can emphasise on the house woes – I was meant to be getting a new Motability car in September, but I’m still waiting! The bloke I was dealing with at the dealership made a right hash of it, then promptly left the company – and several customers in the lurch. But now I’m going to get the brand new Ford Fiesta model, complete with a more powerful engine. Hopefully it’ll arrive just before or after Xmas.
    Keep well!
    Chris xx

  24. Alison Keenan December 13, 2012 at 3:47 am -  Reply

    Oh Chris that all sounds really frustrating! I very much hope that the dealership will do the right thing by you before Christmas and make sur you are mobile! That must have been terrifying having the car just ‘die’ on you like that! I remember something similar happening and I lost the power steering… Terrifying! As you’ll see from time of writing, stressed to the gills with packing but will be escaping to work for four days out of the next six :). Let me know how you get on with the car won’t you? Wishing you and yours a truly happy Christmas. Love Ali xx

  25. elizabeth hurlstone December 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm -  Reply

    hi ali hope youre feeling well love the dress in the pics black top and stone is it qvc? best wishes for the season liz xx

  26. Sue Jennings December 16, 2012 at 9:44 pm -  Reply

    Thanks Ali and Sue Radfors for your kind thoughts…I’m still on a high ..
    Much love
    Sue Jennings

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