Counting My Blessings…

karen waddy

I’ve enjoyed some quality time with my family this week and it’s been extremely rewarding. At the weekend I spent a whole afternoon with my gorgeous twin daughters; putting the world to rights and catching up on all their news over cups of hot, sweet tea and fancy biscuits; and today I’ve spent several hours with my elderly mother celebrating her birthday.

I met mum off the bus in the town centre and we had our usual browse in shop windows as we passed them en route to the local park. It’s mild for the time of year so we were able to perch ourselves on a bench overlooking lovely autumnal scenery while enjoying a good old natter about anything and everything. As the town hall clock struck twelve we sauntered towards a nearby cafe for coffee and baguettes, and once sustained off we went again for a further wander through the town until it was time for her to catch the bus back home.

I’m so lucky to have my mum still with me and even luckier to have produced such beautiful, intelligent and caring children. I really do feel extremely blessed…

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Making Time For Those You Love…

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With a hectic pre-Christmas schedule it was impossible to find a mutually suitable time to visit my mother before the big day this year, therefore a compromise had to be found. After much thought I suggested we indulged in ‘afternoon tea’ at a posh hotel fairly close to where mum lives, so that we can enjoy a good old natter whilst indulging in a bit of luxury. Thankfully she agreed to this idea and so today I set off early, in sub-zero temperatures, to catch the bus.

Her little face lit up as I was dropped off, and we immediately began putting the world to rights. After an hour of thawing out at her place we hopped into a taxi which took us to the hotel, where I’d reserved us a table overlooking a pretty pond. Despite having walked past there literally hundreds of times, my mother had never stepped foot inside, so to be able to finally treat her to a little bit of luxury was wonderful.

Afternoon tea was sublime; delicious food and drink and excellent service, I really couldn’t have asked for more from them. Of course, mum was chuffed to bits and even though we didn’t manage to see each other before Christmas Day for the first time in my life, today has more than made up for it. When life gets busy it’s sometimes a little too easy to sideline people in order to fit everything in. However, family is very precious, and it’s vital to make sure that you somehow MAKE the time to be with those you love…

Special Delivery…

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It was an old friend’s birthday today and I’d totally forgotten to send her a card in the post, so I decided to just pop round and put the card through her letterbox myself. I had no intention of disturbing them by knocking, but clearly they must’ve seen me coming along the street as the front door opened and her husband welcomed me and invited me in. Due to busy schedules over the past few years we’d only been managing to catch up in the supermarket aisles once in a blue moon, with the occasional text message in between, so it was great to actually sit down and have a proper natter over a coffee.

What was even more special was the fact that her daughter and brand new grandson were visiting, allowing granny and grandad to show off the latest addition to their family. It was hugs and congratulations all round while we somehow managed to cover all manner of topics; everything from hospitals to holidays; in the space of an hour. As we said our goodbyes on the doorstep we promised not to leave it so long before our next get-together, and I’ll certainly make a genuine effort to ensure it happens sooner rather than later.

Difficult Times…

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When you’ve been a witness in a horrific murder investigation, no matter how many months or even years have passed since the tragedy you can never entirely free yourself from it. At the time, there were detectives from three different police forces, along with the Serious Crime Squad, visiting me so frequently that I was considering installing a revolving front door! There were the ‘timed walk throughs’ to do, taped and written interviews and so on, which all obviously needed to be completed as quickly as possible. Only my close friends and family knew of my involvement due to the sensitivity of the situation, especially given that the killer was still at large, although obviously the neighbours were rather intrigued.

Eventually, someone local was arrested and has admitted to it, which you’d hope would be the end of it. However, cases like this are rarely straightforward, and the wheels of the legal process will inevitably grind painfully slowly until the court case finally begins. This means the local press will now have a field day dragging up every tiny scrap of information, while those unfortunate enough to be affected by the story have to re-live that truly awful day over and over again. It all looks so ‘exciting’ on the telly, but I can assure you that the reality is very different…

Coach Trip…

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Now… all of my friends and family members know full well that I never, ever consider holidaying in the UK. It’s entirely a personal preference, but I’d much rather spend my time, money and effort on flying somewhere fabulous with long beaches, guaranteed sunshine and plenty of palm trees, instead of wasting an entire day held hostage on a bus at the back end of some horrendous traffic jam, only to face cold, wet weather at the other end.

However… my old school chum has very kindly invited me to stay with her family over 200 miles away, and as this get-together is seriously overdue (by several decades!) I’ve decided to bite the bullet, pack a cagoule, get on a coach and head for the hills in order to spend a few fabulous days re-living my mis-spent youth.

We’ve both been trying to schedule some quality girlie time together for the past few years, but work commitments, ill health and life in general has always got in the way. I’m now happy to announce I’ve just purchased my return coach tickets and we WILL be having that long awaited reunion.

Sometimes you simply HAVE to make things happen – iechyd da…!

New Neighbours…

EST art #06_ Affordable HousingIt’s always a concern when neighbours who you’ve grown very fond of over the years move away to pastures new, leaving you with a fear of the unknown regarding who you’ll end up sharing a wall with, however, I needn’t have worried. Six months down the line all is well and slowly but surely we’re all getting to know each other.

Although they appear to have rather complicated living arrangements, with two ‘mummies‘ and numerous small children, it’s actually quite amusing to have an ‘alternative‘ family next door. With so many little ones playing in their back garden it’s inevitable that the odd meerkat (toy!) or ball ends up on my side of the fence, but they really are no trouble at all. Phew…!

NHS Merry-Go-Round…

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It’s not easy dealing with unexpected medical woes while trying to avoid taking any time off work, not to mention maintaining a busy social life, but somehow I’m managing, despite undergoing more tests and xrays. An emotionally challenging appointment with a lymphoma consultant this week means I’m now on yet another list; this time waiting for biopsies. Well, that’s something new and ‘exciting‘!

I’m fully aware that I’m extremely lucky to have the support of my wonderful friends and family during this particular saga, who cheer me up when all I want to do is mope. Endless blood tests have made my veins a tad sore, but thanks to ‘Team Karen’ I’m actually in a really good place mentally. I’ll give you all a great big hug … once my arms are better.

Now, my birthday is looming and someone mentioned cake…!