That was the week that was!


At the racesI'm really sorry not to have written to you sooner, but as you may have seen from a few of the comments I had time to post, Colin and I headed off to Morrocco for spot of sunshine, and although I brought my trusty iPad with me, the WiFi at the resort was sadly less trusty!

I did though enjoy reading all your lovely comments at the airport whilst waiting for the flight home, particularly your suggestions of where you would choose to spend your birthdays!

And so having just returned from a very lazy and sunny time in Agadir I've left my unpacking and washing until later on, so that I could finally let you know where I ended up for my birthday weekend, and what Colin had planned 🙂

You may remember that March 14th was a beautiful day and before we even got up he had told me that my surprise was two nights in a country house hotel, and Friday at the Cheltenham Gold Cup Races! We'd been to Ascot a couple of years ago, and had a ball, so I was thrilled 🙂

Having dutifully packed the few things Colin had suggested, plus the usual overnight clart, we headed off in the direction of the M3 and ultimately Stow on the Wold! What a stunning part of the country it is! Our journey took us through some beautiful English villages and countryside with blue skies and bright sunshine, and before long we were at the hotel. Just lovely, with a fabulous room, open log fire in the reception, incredible views from the dining room, and an Elemis Spa!

The viewWe dropped our bags in the room and then headed off to explore Stow on the Wold itself. It's a market town, and along with Moreton in Marsh, is perhaps the best known of the small Cotswolds towns.

Apparantly years ago they held huge annual fairs with as many as 20,000 sheep being sold at one time! Infact talking about wool, after a pot of tea and a cheese scone, Colin bought me a pair of luxurious cashmere socks which are sooooo cosy!


As the sun dipped down behind the hills, we headed back to our hotel, and got ready for dinner. I have to say the food was exceptional, and having eaten our fill of fabulously prepared fare, we headed for the log fire and rounded off the evening with a glass of port – perfect 🙂

Friday dawned, cold and wet, but we wolfed down a huge breakfast (extra black pudding for me as Colin doesn't eat it) donned out hats, padded jackets, and headed off for the Cheltenham Gold Cup Races to make our fortune!… By crikey it was cold!!!

We picked up some warm and free yellow scarves from a certain Turf Accountant and they were the saving of us. To be honest there were sooooo many people in there we had to rely on watching the races on the big screens as we only made it down onto the terraces a couple of times because the whole place was rammed! That said, it didn't spoil our enjoyment, or disrupt my ability to follow the form… Anything in a purple or peach coloured outfit had my backing, but clearly I had lost my touch!

The winning ticket!However, after losing on the first three races, we more than made our money back on a horse called Bobsworth – here I am with the winnning ticket and a pork bap! Perfect combination 🙂

We made our way back to the hotel by taxi, and spent the rest of the evening chatting to other guests including Lord and Lady Greenwood – no relation to our Debs, but should be as they were delightful 🙂

As we were up past midnight, once we returned to the room I was allowed to have my presents, and what a spoiled girlie I was. Colin had put together a really thoughtful collection of things including shoes, champagne, a book, a fab bag, make up, bath goodies, a bikini (see it makes sense now 🙂 chocolates, frillies, and a copy of Fab 208 magazine with Donny Osmond and David Cassidy in it – result!

He had also tried to book me in for an Elemis facial but as the hotel was fully booked 'cos of Cheltenham they squeezed me in for a mini treatment at 10am. Bliss…

We packed and I thought were due to head home as Lucy and the boys were coming round at 6pm that evening… But no, another surprise for me as Colin supposedly set the sat nav wrongly and we ended up at Lucy's new home in Swindon! I wasn't sure that we should just decend, but Colin said he knew she wouldn't have left already so we popped in… to find Lucy with a buffet lunch all laid out ready, and her brothers hidden in the kitchen! 🙂

Tickets had been purchased for the Chinese State Circus and so after we'd eaten all my favourite foods, we headed into Swindon town centre and were then duly entertained by the most talented group of gymnasts I've ever seen. It was fabulous and they took jumping through hoops to a whole new level 🙂

We went to an 'Eat All You Can' chinese buffet for supper and the children treated me to a rather alarming amount of food, finishing off with banana fritters which I love. As we headed for the car park I thought of the last time I'd been to a circus with them, Jack was just six years old and the four of us had had a magical afternoon watching all kinds of magic under canvas in the pouring rain… Good times…

As I have had throughout my somewhat extended birthday weekend, and I have to thank Colin and my three children for making it such a special one…Thank you so much for all your wonderful birthday destination suggestions… may you all be as spoiled as I have been 🙂

I hope too that you will have had a Happy Easter and that you enjoy the blog and the photos.

Next stop Agadir!!!

Much love Ali xxxx


  1. babsq x April 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali My word what a lucky girl you are. It’s like being on a magic roundabout. You are truly loved and spoilt, no wonder you are looking so happy and radiant. Colin, you truly know how to treat your lady and it shows, Ali is always smiling and happy. You both deserve all the happiness and love, may it continue, also Lucy,Sam and Jack, what a lovely surprise they gave you. Lovely seeing you on screen and how well you are. I’ll say bye for now it’s time for tea. Much Love, take care x BabsQxxxxx

  2. Elaine sallis April 2, 2013 at 5:14 pm -  Reply

    Hi ali
    What a fabulous birthday weekend you had. I spent my fortieth birthday at. Cheltenham gold cup. Had a fabulous day. That was seventeen years ago but still seems like yesterday . I bet on the jockey with the nicest bottom, usually Ruby Walsh and won quite a lot. I seem to have a bit of a men in Lycra theme going on don’t I ?
    Writing this with a sore arm and back as I fell down the stairs on Saturday night. No not drunk, would have hurt less if I had have been! Luckily only bruised so will soon heal.
    Can’t wait to hear a about your trip, (abroad not down the stairs!).
    Love Elaine .

  3. Pauline Johnson April 2, 2013 at 5:41 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison have not spoken for a while,can I have Colin for just a week he sounds so thoughtful and caring,I do have a man of my own but alas he has Alzheimer’s so his not as thoughtful anymore (not his fault) I have to say.personal question Alison what do you use on your hair it looks fantastic (you don’t have to say if you don’t want to) look after yourself.
    Love Pauline xxx

  4. Sue Radford April 2, 2013 at 6:05 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    So glad you had a fantastic birthday! Well done to Colin for making it so special, and how thoughtful of him to arrange such a fun, full packed celebration. I know how extra special it must have been for you to have it rounded off with a surprise buffet laid on by your beautiful daughter, and I can imagine how happy you were to see your two boys there too – really really lovely!!!
    Ali, I must say it’s so nice to see you looking so healthy and happy!
    Hope you enjoyed your time in Morocco and managed to visit one of the souks – a real eye-opener! Look forward to hearing all about it.
    Love from Sue Radford xx

  5. Joanna Downey April 2, 2013 at 6:41 pm -  Reply

    Welcome Home, What a wonderful time you’ve had – and that’s only the first instalment. Your Colin sounds wonderful too and to get a Fab 208 would be the icing on any cake as far as I’m concerned! Life in the West Mids seems to have been in suspended animation recently, I blame the cold weather because everyone I know just appears to scurry from house to car to work and back again. However, today has felt positively balmy; I went Worcester and drank my coffee sitting outside AND I was wearing my sunnies..! We’re now on holiday from school so I plan to start decorating and stripping the varnish from the hall floor which is not my favourite task but it should look good when finished. Looking forward to hearing about Agadir. Love from Jo x

  6. Jilly April 2, 2013 at 7:57 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali – well we have missed you but I am sure I can say from all of us how delightful it is to first have you back and second to hear all about your wonderful birthday weekend – it sounds just perfect. We had a little break in Stow on the Wold a good few years ago and loved it very much so can understand how special it would have been for you both. Then the surprise of going to Lucy’s house and having the family there – I could say how lucky you are to have them all and I should think you will agree but then they all must feel the same about you. You are looking lovely and tanned and great on your return from your jolly holly .Loved the blue dress and little cardi that you had on yesterday (Monday).All fine in my household – my daughter gets the first radio on Thursday and then Friday this week but because we live so far away she will stay near the hospital and be home for the weekend to start again the following week. Her dad will be going with her and they are making it a jolly outing with plenty to see and view but also plenty of rest and recovery when necessary. She was more than thrilled to have a scan to check that all was perfect with her veins and the horrid anti blood clotting injections could be stopped and she needs no more treatment for that. Apparantly she danced along the corridor to meet her dad (who had to taxi her to the hospital in the snow) with pink wellies on and thumbs up – you will understand how she felt – and still does. She has had the last chemo and although tired is feeling pretty good. Her feet get puffy (a side effect of the chemo I understand) by the end of the day and the skin on them is not perfect but she is using lots of cream and hopefully they will start to improve shortly. Looking forward to hearing about your holiday once you get the chance to let us all know. Love Jillyx

  7. Denise April 2, 2013 at 8:02 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali, What a lovely Birthday surprise or surprises as there were so many. You are indeed a lucky lady to have Colin and the children and they certainly did you proud. I laughed at the pic of you at the races with the winning ticket and the Pork butty!
    I look forward to reading about Agidir. I caught you on a show the other day looking sunkissed so guessed you had been somewhere warm lucky girl! We are off to Spain in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait to get some sun in the old bones ha ha
    Take care
    Love Denise

  8. Christine Margaret Hindle. April 2, 2013 at 10:07 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali! Love to hear all your stories of Happenings!! I love all of your adventures. My Daughter who is 40 on the 21 inst., will be venturing with her husband to Stow on the Wold for the weekend of her birthday to “The Grapevine” Hotel where she went when in her younger days was training to be a caterer, Nothing became of that as she now has a Driving School but she enjoyed Stow on the Wold so much she returns for her birthday celebrations. You seem to be so happy these days and you deserve a great happiness you have experienced so much in the past. Lots of love to you and keep up with the blog. Christine Hindle

  9. diane baker April 3, 2013 at 9:55 am -  Reply

    Hello Ali
    i went to morrocco it was great i always hope that whoever i sit next to on the plane that they wont talk to me as i had someone once talking non stop althe way back home it was a night mare i think i sat by you on the way back from agader if it was you i liked your suede jacket with fur around the collar also the way you had your hair i said to my husband when i got off the plane that i think i was sat by ali from qvc and when i heard you mention on qvc about a moroccan cookbook it made me think it most probably was you and now i read that you went to morocco i am even more curious any way ali if it was you or someone that was very much like you thankyou for a nice peaceful return flight and again ali your hair looked lovely left loose with your hair comb
    take care diane x

  10. Mrs Janet Jones April 3, 2013 at 1:47 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali,so glad you had a lovely birthday and holiday, well deserved. Colin is such a thoughtful man with his birthday gifts and treats, but I am sure you enjoyed the birthday surprise with your children and Colin the most, time spent with our family is so precious and it sounds like you had a lovely fun packed day with yours. Thank you for your tips on Kefalonia, we will definitely take your advice and hire a car. The sea there looks so blue and turquoise I can’t wait to go in the summer.
    Thank you for your kinds words for Alfie,he has his op in 2 weeks time,and we are all praying for good news. He is such a beautiful little boy and I just want to keep him safe. The good news is that they are all coming to stay this weekend and I can’t wait and I have volunteered to get up to him in the night so they can get some sleep. The fly in the ointment though is that I have some sort of virus at the moment and feel achy with a sore throat and chest, so I am resting at the moment, if I don’t feel any better, Alfie won’t be able to come and stay as I don’t want to pass it onto him!!. Any miracle cures gratefully received (lol) I have slept all morning, so I am going to watch a bit of telly. this is so unlike me I am usually charging around but I want to see Alfie so needs must!!
    Glad to see you looking so well and happy, take care Ali speak soon love Janet xx

  11. Debz & Ainzley April 3, 2013 at 4:03 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Sorry it’s been a while but with only one laptop and Neal working from home a lot it’s difficult for me to get online!!
    Blimey, Colin is definitely a keeper isn’t he?? What a truly special man he is and no mistake. I reckon you could rent him out to us Ali’s Army girls and make a killing!!
    Am so glad you had a fab birthday. If anyone deserves it then you do. I love the Cotswolds. If you’re down (or is it up) that way again why not try Bourton on the Water. It’s such a quaint, lovely place and there always seems to be a spaniel splashing around in the stream which runs through the village. We love it there and we can do it in half a day and back in time for Ainzley’s tablets!!
    Ainzley is still going strong and giving the vets the run around as usual. He’ll be 16 next month bless him. Considering the vet gave him 12 to 18 months to live back in 2008 he’s not doing too bad at all!! He’s got arthritis in his spine and his back paws but this doesn’t seem to slow him down much to he honest. He does creak a bit when he walks sometimes but don’t we all!!
    Will try not to leave it so long before I post again. I always think of you and every time you’re on QVC I’m so glad to see you looking healthy and happy. Makes my day!
    Love to all in Ali’s Army especially those we don’t hear from too often these days, Alpa and Una amongst them.
    Lots of love and licks

  12. PAULA JOY WILLIAMS April 3, 2013 at 5:22 pm -  Reply

    hi Alison you look so good after coping with your cancer and the ongoing treatments. I’ve organised lots of fun things for charity this year. Love you from Farnworth

  13. Claire Downing April 3, 2013 at 5:56 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, Wow !!! Colin is a wonderful person, he put so much thought and care into what sounded a fantastic weekend. I love Stow in the Wold, but haven’t been for many years, I love the fabulous antique shops. The surprise visit to Lucy’s and the boys being there must have brought a tear to your eye, you have such a loving family, which as we have said before is so so precious. I can’t wait for more information on Agadir, I have always wanted to go to Morrocco but have never got round to it.
    As for the Easter bunny !! yes I had a lovely Cadbury’s Flake Egg(my fav) and a bunch of beautiful yellow roses, lovely. So looking forward to your next post. Take care Ali, hope to hear from you soon. Love Claire xx

  14. Susan April 3, 2013 at 6:12 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    My good grief what a spoiler Colin is!! Can I borrow him for my birthday!? Fabulous! It sounded like a wonderful weekend and I would love to know how Lucy is doing in her new home? Does she like it? I hope so. She deserves it. I can’t wait to see Morrocco as I’ve never been so as you say next stop Agadir!
    Love SUsan x

  15. alison keenan April 3, 2013 at 6:40 pm -  Reply

    Dear Babs, lovely to catch up with you and thank you for all your lovely words. Spoiled I feel most definitely, and it was so good to have all the children together after such a lovely weekend 🙂 I do hope all is good with you too, and thanks as always for keeping in touch, love Ali xx

  16. alison keenan April 3, 2013 at 6:52 pm -  Reply

    Elaine, you do make me smile – the jockey with the nicest bottom eh?! I think there is definitely something about you and lycra! 🙂 Well done for picking the winning horse though and I know what a wonderful day you will have had there for your 40th – just hope the weather was kinder to you than it was to us! So sorry to hear about your fall, and I very much hope that your back is now feeling far less sore. Hoping to write my Agadir blog this weekend, so take care of yourself and have a good weekend, love Ali xx

  17. alison keenan April 3, 2013 at 6:56 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Pauline,and thank you for writing, although I am very saddened to hear about your husband’s Alzheimer’s… so very hard for you both in so many ways… In answer to your question about my hair, I am currently using Ojon’s Colour Corrective Shampoo and conditioner, and Percy and Reed’s No Oil Hair Oil. While I was away I used Ojon’s Restorative Hair Treatment which is fab and stops the hair drying out in the sun, and also their Sleek Shampoo and Conditioner for frizzy hair! I have been so blessed to have my hair grow back this thick and curly… every cloud eh? 🙂 Love to you, Ali xxxx

  18. alison keenan April 3, 2013 at 7:00 pm -  Reply

    Sue thank you 🙂 It was such a lovely couple of days, and not only wonderful that Colin planned it all, but also managed to keep it a secret! Lucy and the boys too with the special trip just rounded everything off perfectly and definitely took the sting out of being another year older 🙂 Morocco was fabulous, but I have to be honest and say we didn’t go into Agadir, just the Marina, but have plans to return if we possibly can, in the autumn 🙂 Will be hoping to post new blog next Monday. Do hope all good with you and yours and that you had a great Easter break, love ali xx

  19. alison keenan April 3, 2013 at 7:02 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Jo, and yes I have indeed had a wonderful time, and feel incredibly spoiled :O) I should have guessed you are also a FAB 208 fan… I used to listen to the Radio Station on my ‘trannie’ all those years ago! So glad that the weather has improved for you – even if just a little! The wind is bitter here today, although the sunshine through the windows yesterday was gorgeous. Good luck with your varnish stripping… do you have one of those machines, or are you having to do it by hand! Monster job I am sure. Don’t work too hard, you’re meant to be on a break! Love to you, ali xx

  20. alison keenan April 3, 2013 at 7:05 pm -  Reply

    Dear Jilly, always so good to hear about your daughter’s progress, and I am thrilled that she no longer has to have the clotting injections, and that apart from feeling tired she is cracking on with the radiotherapy. I am sure both you and your husband must by incredibly relieved that she has handled it all so well…. I am! Puffy feet is just one of the weird and wonderful side effects of the chemo.. I still have numb fingers sometimes, and my memory is no longer as sharp as it used to be at all.. But as they say, in time it will all fade away 🙂 I hope that you are well and enjoyed Easter, and thank you for writing to me – always appreciated, love Ali xx

  21. alison keenan April 3, 2013 at 7:07 pm -  Reply

    Denise, that Pork Bap was delicious! Even had crackling as well as stuffing in it – perfect 🙂 Yes, I did manage to tan pretty well even though the weather was a little mixed. Colin and I took some pretty long walks along the beach while it was cloudy and blowing a hoolie, and I think that’s when you get the best of your colour! Best of all, neither of us burned at all. I do hope you have a fabulous time in Spain, and will look forward to hearing all about it. Take care, love Ali xx

  22. alison keenan April 3, 2013 at 7:11 pm -  Reply

    Gosh Christine, you brought back a few memories talking about The Grapevine Hotel. I stayed there many moons back when Jack was about two years old! I think your daughter will thoroughly enjoy it I’m sure, and will give her a little break from the kind of stress I can only imagine, that comes with running your own Driving School! Happy birthday to her from me. Yes, there is a lot going on at the moment, and it’s lovely to have these special times to reminisce over 🙂 Thank you for writing to me, and I look forward to hearing from you again, love Ali xx

  23. alison keenan April 3, 2013 at 7:14 pm -  Reply

    Diane how funny!!! It was indeed me, and I was envying you for being able to sleep on the plane! So glad I didn’t witter on, otherwise you’d have been far from pleased 🙂 The jacket is a Dennis Basso, and boy was I glad to have it when we got off the plane at Gatwick – it was freezing wasn’t it! I will give you a wave if I remember, when I’m working tonight (Thursday). I hope you had a great holiday too, love ali xx

  24. alison keenan April 3, 2013 at 7:21 pm -  Reply

    Oh Janet, worrying times I am sure, but I too will pray for good news, and am sure that with all the expertise and experience the baby units have nowadays, Alfie will be in good hands. I so very much hope that your virus clears up and my advice re miracle cures is PLENTY of rest, and Lemsip – don’t laugh, but in our house it is a cure all, and my friend Ros who is a nurse, also swears by it. Give it a go with extra honey to ease your throat 🙂 Good luck! I’m sure you’ll be better by the weekend and so your son will come to stay, and then you can see your little Alfie. Do take care, and let me know how things go won’t you. with love, Ali xxx

  25. alison keenan April 3, 2013 at 7:25 pm -  Reply

    Dear Debz, Hello!! And to Ainzley too of course (=^^=)! Yes Colin is definitely a keeper, and great to spend time away with too :)….. I may be selfish though and pass on the suggestion of renting him out!!! We did infact visit Bourton on the Water on our way to Lucy, and it was so pretty. Apparantly they play football in that stream on August Bank Holiday Monday! So pleased to hear that Ainzley is still going strong, and if he like I creaks a little when he walks, then I’m in good company 🙂 I also think often of Alpa, Una, Helen and all the others girls from Ali’s Army, and wish them well too. You take care Debz, and do keep in touch when you can, it’s always good to hear from you, love ali xx

  26. Liz, Lancashire April 3, 2013 at 9:37 pm -  Reply

    Hi everyone.
    Sorry I haven’t written for a while but I have been reading. What a wonderful birthday all round, Ali. I always watch the whole of the Cheltenham racing festival with my mum and dad and we place our virtual bets to win a virtual fortune!! I love that area if the country too and had an aunt who lived near Brize Norton for years until she died about 3 years ago. Lovely scenery.
    I have been a bit knocked by my new treatment and have had so many side effects. Having been basically well for 5 years, I think my body has had a shock being hit with 4 new powerful drugs in one go and decided to protest!! I ended up in hospital for one night last week in absolute agony but they gave me gas, air and morphine that helped. An oncologist came to see me and sorted out my medication and then I saw a registrar in clinic who turned out to be a specialist with the new drug. Hope I’m not tempting fate but I’be felt so much better these last few days and back to my normal self. I had a visit from our mutual friend Mandy (BCC fashion show) today so we had a really long catch- up and a lot of laughs. Sat having tea and cake in a cafe with views over the bay to the Lake District hills – gorgeous. All being well, we are off to Mallorca next week and hope to meet up with Magda and hubby at least once.
    I hope everyone on here is as well as can be.
    Love from Liz x

  27. Norma Smithson April 4, 2013 at 6:16 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali Wow what a time you’ve had and as you say it’s only the first instalment, can’t wait to hear about Agadir. He’s gone and done it again that wonderful man of yours, and for Colin to get together with the children as well – just perfect. Stow in the Wold is in a wonderful part of the country sometimes overlooked, we are going to a wedding on the 2nd May in Stratford upon Avon and we have extended our stay so we can have a nosey around. It should be good Ali as it’s taking place on the stage of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre very theatrical, but suits the couple perfectly as they are both “actors”. Glad you enjoyed the races at Cheltenham, it just shows how differant the weather is this year, friends of ours always go, but last year they were in summer suits and dresses and this year like you winter coats, boots and fur hats. Looking forward to next blog already, I’m now going to start packing for my weekend, Harold and I are taking our two young grandsons to Robin Hoods Bay for three nights,hope it’s not too energetic but it will certainly be enjoyable. Much love Norma xx

  28. Mrs Janet Jones April 4, 2013 at 11:25 am -  Reply

    Dear Ali I am drinking a Lemsip as I write and my husband gave me the same advice as you, plenty of rest, so I am doing as I am told, as still running a temperature and feeling achy!! I look forward to your blog about your Moroccan holiday, speak soon love Janet xx

  29. angela white April 4, 2013 at 3:39 pm -  Reply

    hi ali! you allright!? sorry not written for a while but I have been reading your blogs and your adventures! glad you had a lovely time on your jollydays! colin is a very thoughtful and caring man don’t let him go!!!!!!!! well the kitchen is almost done abit of tiling then floor laid then that’s it hopefully and can move on to the bathroom then! we cant decide where to go on holiday we have a tourer caravan I would like to go to cornwall again we love looe and polperro but also love wells nxt the sea because its right by beach and at night can here the sea-lovely! its my friends 60th this month and shes treating us to sunday lunch at the horns at bonningale-very posh! its my sisters 60th in june and shes off to Portugal for 5 days with the girls! I have my 5year checkup end of may so hopefully will go ok don’t really know what happens after that will see I suppose. I hope all of ali”s army are keeping well and love to you ali and your family,take care xx

  30. mary morphy April 5, 2013 at 7:20 am -  Reply

    So Ali, firstly apologies if all of a sudden another reply appears; I have already written a response but it is not here and that was three days ago so I may be repeating myself. I didnt get the funny letter security bit at the end of my entry so maybe that’s why so I am now on my trusty old laptop (not my tablet)with my second attempt. Your birthday sounded fabulous and your surprises just kept coming, what a lovely thoughtful man Colin is and to have all the family on board too. Certainly a birthday for you to remember.Hope my card arrived. My birthday was 26th March; my surprise was “Have we got any savings, the car repairs are £1350!” Needless to say, I hope it doesnt rain for a long time, rainy day fund suffered fatal drought!
    I have never been to the races and we were going to try Folkestone races but the track sadly closed last year. I have a similar way to you of picking horses; I like ones in black silks and even better if the horse is grey as I love monochrome. However, in a slight change to my usual selection, there was a horse running at Cheltenham that week called Swing Bowler and as you know both my children are cricketers and both are swing bowlers ( that means the ball swings in/out once it has left the bowlers hand)so it was a sure bet for me… lost!!!
    My birthday was quiet but I had some lovely gifts from friends and lots of flowers..Lilies, tulips and daffidils which are still ‘blooming lovely’. I love fresh flowers; lilies are my favourite. The scent reminds me of a childhood spent in the basement of a florist shop sitting amongst buckets of flowers as mum was a florist for many years.
    Spring still has not arrived in Westgate and whilst last year on Easter Sunday we were playing badmington in the garden after our roast beef dinner this year a few brave souls dressed up like Nanook of the North and had a long walk in a icy galeforce wind. I have been slathering on moisturiser like never before. We sat in snow flurries on Good Friday outside the cafe with hot coffees after a walk on the beach as dogs are no longer allowed in the cafe during the warmer (!) months. It’s still bitterly cold and the wind has not eased. I went shopping with my friends in Canterbury yesterday and we had a snow storm so sought refuge in Prezzo’s and today, its horrid and my twin and I are going to a demonstration in our little village Westgate as Tesco want to build a tesco Metro in a tiny narrow space. Deciding whether to take rotten eggs and flour to lob or just stand in the background. I have never been to a demo before so at the age of 47 it will be my first. As will next Monday be a first; I received a letter on my birthday inviting me to have a mammogram at a mobile untit. Our area is trialing a scheme to give mammograms to those aged 47 and over and they want to roll it out throughtout the country. I think this can only be a good thing but am a little worried how my ‘ample’ bosom will fit in those little cup things!
    Oh one good surprise I had for my birthday was from my twin who got me a Lulu Guinness bag…but in cake form. I have never had a cake made for me, I even made my own wedding cake and as I always make the cakes for others she got someone to make me one. It was a replica of the Lulu bookshop back and was simply stunning, it took my breath away. I may send a photo to Lulu herself it was simply amazing and must have taken her hours.
    Well first week of school holidays are over. It was a bit of a bake fest; two batches of Paul Hollywoods hot cross buns last week (take a long time but well worth it, my hubby said they were the best buns he had ever tasted!), a first birthday cake made into a ‘1’ with pale pink icing with frills, butterflies and tiny blossoms on and now, at 7.12am I have a gammon on the hob boiling in cheap cola (takes away the saltyness) and two chickens in the oven for a chicken ,ham and leek pie for tomorrow as we have family visiting tomorrow. (Having slow cooker chocolate pudding and home=]made cheesecake with fresh fruit to follow which I shall make later).
    Well think I have gone on long enough so I am going to go a write my plackard and wish you a fabulous week! Lots of love Mary.

  31. Rhona Fenton April 5, 2013 at 3:33 pm -  Reply

    Happy belated birthday Alison sorry my wishes are late this year! and a big congratulations to Colin, Lucy, Sam & Jack for your wonderful surprise well done them:) I did enjoy reading all about your trip sounds like you had an amazing time off it:) should be no surprise to you to hear my dream trip, only been trying to get over to suzi for many a year now, and the thought even more so as we still try and get ride off this snow in the garden so the thought off somewhere warm:) couldn’t work out what was hanging from my washing line to day when I thought wait it’s the washing I forgot what that looked like:)nice to see the sun at long last but it is still cold, but after Richards Easter weekend it get’s you looking forward to the garden, and I did hear from Richard last week:) enjoy your weekend whatever you have planned, love to you all from me and mine, love Rhona xx

  32. alison keenan April 5, 2013 at 5:25 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Paula Joy, and thank you for your kind words 🙂 Thank you also for arranging all those fund raising events – it means such a lot to women like me…. bless you, love ali xx

  33. alison keenan April 5, 2013 at 5:28 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Claire, delighted to hear that the Easter bunny didn’t forget you! The yellow roses sound beautiful too 🙂 It was our first visit to Morocco and I have to admit to having been very lazy, but we do plan to revisit hopefully towards the end of the year. I will be writing my blog this weekend, so you can see a snapshot of what it’s like then 🙂 Take care, and thank you for keeping in touch, love Ali x

  34. alison keenan April 5, 2013 at 5:29 pm -  Reply

    Susan, you made Colin smile with your comments so thank you for them, and yes it was a really memorable birthday. Lucy is doing very well in her new home, and starts her new job on Monday! It’s quite a change as far as area is concerned, but then she spent three years in Derby while at University so adapts quickly 🙂 She’s a little closer to me now than she would have been if she’d have stayed in Bedfordshire so I’m happy 🙂 Have a great weekend, love Ali xx

  35. alison keenan April 5, 2013 at 5:32 pm -  Reply

    My dear Liz, I am sure I speak for everyone when I say how sorry I am to hear that you’ve been struggling with this latest bout of treatment…Thank heavens the oncologist was able to help with your pain, and I have everything crossed that the relief you feel at the moment means you are through the worst and will be back to your old self asap 🙂 Do say hello to Mandy for me when you next meet – such a lovely girl, and very positive too. I am sure that the pending visit to Mallorca will be a success and just what your body and mind need. I will look forward to hearing all abou it. Do take care, and stay strong, love Ali xx

  36. alison keenan April 5, 2013 at 5:34 pm -  Reply

    Oooh Norma, you must seek out Stow on the Wold, Bourton on the Water, and Upper and Lower Slaughter during your travels, and I hope very much that the wedding is a truly happy occasion. I attended a wedding at the same venue just last October, on the stage at the Royal Shakespearean theatre and is was VERY romantic 🙂 I hope also that you, Harold and your three grandsons enjoy your time in Robin Hood Bay, and that the sun manages to shine for you. Thank you for writing, with love, Ali xx

  37. alison keenan April 5, 2013 at 5:36 pm -  Reply

    Good girl Janet 🙂 …Everything crossed that the aches and pains will have disappeared by tomorrow morning and that the much needed visit will take place… If you’re still feeling mouldy by Monday I think it’d be wise to see your GP again just to be certain. Will hopefully have my new blog by Monday. Love to you and yours, Ali xx

  38. alison keenan April 5, 2013 at 5:41 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Angela, the kitchen sounds great, and I am sure will be perfect once the final bit of flooring is laid 🙂 Hopefully the bathroom won’t take quite as long!! 🙂 All the places you’ve suggested for your holidays are favourites of mine, and in the 80s I stayed in The Norman’s Guest House in Wells-next-the-Sea, and it was delightful. Your pending Sunday lunch sounds very posh, so I hope you enjoy it, and I have everything crossed for your 5 year check up – I’m sure all will be well 🙂 Have a great weekend, and as always, thanks for keeping in touch, love ali xx

  39. Christine Edgeworth April 5, 2013 at 5:49 pm -  Reply

    Please please Ali could you let me have the details of where you got the black and white dress you had on last night – fabulous.
    Many thanks
    Christine Edgeworth

  40. Jilly April 7, 2013 at 7:31 pm -  Reply

    Hello again Ali – thank you for your words – it is so nice to hear from you. It is also so nice to hear what others have been up to and I do so hope that Janet has managed to get rid of her bug so that little Alfie could come and stay. All is well in our household with two zappings over and only thirteen to go!!! you were right though in that it takes longer to park than the actual zapping. Husband and daughter had a great time away and go again tomorrow morning (Monday) coming back Friday. They are staying fifteen minutes from Clatterbridge in a lovely hotel with super walks around. It means there are lots of lovely things to go to and see to make this a jolly rather than anything else. Energy levels are coming up for Annie and hopefully they will stay that way but she will be pacing herself for these next couple of weeks – I think being away from home without having to sort out any normal “home life” things will be wonderful for her and dad and daughter are looking forward to this time together. It has been a military operation to plan grandson’s timetable this week as he does not go back to school for another week but the hard work has been done and it means Annie can go off and have some “me” time in between zapping times without having to worry about the young chap. Grandson had said to his mummy “what happens when you have radio?” she said “I don’t know but will tell you” – he said “I think you lie on a bed and have the radio playing” – well she said that was just about it although the time it took for the zapping the song playing had not finished!! We did though have a laugh that he was nearly right. Looking forward to hearing about your jolly holly when you have time to post – and seeing any piccies you may have taken. Love Jilly xx

  41. alison keenan April 8, 2013 at 10:45 am -  Reply

    Hello there Christine, glad you liked the dress – it’s a definite breathe in and grab your shapewear!! It was from Top Shop and I literally saw it in the window and bought it! 🙂 I hope you had a great weekend, and thanks for writing, love Ali xx

  42. alison keenan April 8, 2013 at 10:52 am -  Reply

    Jilly, it sounds as if you have managed to get the perfect balance with your daughter’s treatment regime, and I did smile when I read your grandson’s comment 🙂 It is right though, I don’t think I ever heard a complete song during my entire 15 visits! I am sure that Annie will continue to gain strength, not just because the chemo is now behind her, but also because she is able to rest with her Dad inbetween treatments. It seems generally that the younger you are, the less tired you become after them – I do hope this is the case for her 🙂 How wonderful for you all as a family to see the end of this period in sight.. it is a testament to the love and support you have given each other, and I am sure your comments have helped so many others who find themselves in the same situation. Thank you so much for keeping in touch. I hope to write my new blog today – the weekend was a mad rush, but I’m not working until tonight, so should have time. Love to you Jilly, Ali xx

  43. Susan April 8, 2013 at 1:07 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Glad that you had such a great know how to celebrate in style girl! You have such zest for life even after all the last 2 years have brought for you. I am thinking of Lucy Loo this morning and hoping her new job will be going well. Always takes quite a while to settle but here’s hoping she does so and has great colleagues. Hope your boys are doing ok. Hope you had a lovely weekend in the sun…I take it you are allowed back in the sun? You must be having that lovely tan of yours!
    Love Susan x

  44. Jan Burnley April 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali.
    Our memories of Moreton in the Marsh will certainly differ.I’ve only been once,forty years ago to attend the Fire Service training school as it was then. ( it’s much grander now I believe)I spent a week learning how to use a field kitchen, and marching everywhere and thinking what on earth use is this going to be in The Derbyshire Fire Service!! None at all! What memories we conjure up when we read about familiar name places.
    Ali, you deserve to be spoilt after all you’ve been through, God bless.
    Jan Burnley

  45. alison keenan April 9, 2013 at 12:34 pm -  Reply

    Susan you are kind 🙂 I will make sure I pass that on to Lucy – haven’t heard yet and didn’t want to bother her as she will be busy, but I will let you know. Both boys are coming over tomorrow and Jack still searching for work… so hard when they go for endless interviews but nothing is suitable, or they’re promised something and it doesn’ happen… It will though soon I am sure 🙂 Yes I am indeed allowed in the sun now, although I am very careful with my sun factors as the chemo made my skin more sensitive. Sunshine is a healer for me and ALWAYS makes me feel better 🙂 I hope it shone on you too, and thanks as always for writing, love Ali xx

  46. alison keenan April 9, 2013 at 12:36 pm -  Reply

    Jan what a corking memory! Love the thought of you in the field kitchen marching around with your pots and pans. I can’t imagine it was of any use to you in the Fire Service, but a rather lovely thing to look back on. Thank you for your kind words… it’s been a bit of long haul, but I’m getting there, and stronger each day. Next lot of surgery possibly in the summer, so a while to gather myself 🙂 Take care, love Ali xx

  47. Susan April 9, 2013 at 5:19 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Looking forward to hearing how Lucy got on and I know how Jack is/could be feeling re interviews. Rather a tough old world yes but we can get through it especially with a Mum like you. I hope he finds something soon or something finds him soon! Work gives you a meaning and a focus I find. And yes I totally agree with you re the sun being a tonic! I think I may move to the SE of England though! That’s the best for the sun I think! I am glad you are allowed back in it. And you really are looking fabulously healthy.
    Chat soon,
    Susan x

  48. alison keenan April 10, 2013 at 5:30 pm -  Reply

    Hi Mary I am so sorry that I missed your fabulous response – I could have sworn I had replied – atlhough I like you didn’t see that weird word message thing so it was probably lost!! Your birthday is the day after Kathy Tayler’s but I am sorry that the car repairs rather put the mockers on you celebrating in style :/ Your card did indeed arrive, and thank you so much for your thoughtfulness 🙂 I’m glad that you had a good day anyway, and I, like you, love lilies, although I think your reasons and lovely reminiscences make absolute sense. I would love to see a photo of your incredible birthday cake! Clearly your ability to create masterpieces with cake and icing is in your genes and your sister’s genes too! What a thoughful and incredible idea to make in cake form, and I would definitely like to see a photo of it, as I am SURE Lulu Guiness would too 🙂 Have you had your mammogram yet? I think it’s a great idea to bring the age forward from 50 to 47, and don’t worry about the size of your bust – you will be amazed at how well they can compress any size between those plates!! Oh, and it doesn’t hurt either, so don’t let my description put you off 🙂 I hope that your delicious pies were well received and that the family polished off the slow baked chocolate pudding in double quick time too! I’ll reply to your most recent comment on my other blog, but didn’t want you to feel as though I hadn’t bothered. 🙂 Love to you Mary, from Ali xx

  49. alison keenan April 10, 2013 at 5:33 pm -  Reply

    Susan, thanks for your positive thoughts – have told Jack who is with me this afternoon and he says thank you 🙂 I’m hoping that you may have seen a little of the sunshine by now, and that the entire country will soon be warming up – I am tired of having to wear a vest!! Love to you, Ali xx

  50. Tricia Coulson-wood July 23, 2013 at 3:10 pm -  Reply

    Just to say I hope that Ali and all the girls are keeping fit and we’ll and progressing well. My own daughter Jan has now completed her 3rd double chemotherapy and appears to be more tolerant. it maybe because during my research I read that taking Glutamin supplement helps with joint pains and discomfort.(I have been a research nurse) she took it during session two and three .It is a health supplement and not a prescription drug, anyway taken the day before the chemotherapy session and three days during it has appeared to have helped her .Her GP and chemotherapy consultant have heard of the supplement and both have approved of her taking it. last weekend she walked the 5kl walk for race for life with lots of the girls and managed to raise. £1800 .
    it was hard work for her as only one year ago as she was able to walk and run for miles before she became ill.
    I know her fitness will return by next year everything positive to look forward to. Lots of love, Tricia.

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