The story of Gromit begins…

The weekend after I found out I was going to be made redundant, I had a whole heap of social activities planned and most of them got cancelled. It sucked. I went into ‘wallow mode’ and my friend Fi in Barcelona made an emergency skype call to me and ordered me to get out the house pronto. I agreed to take a walk to the local mini supermarket shop to get some raspberries for my breakfast the following day. But on the way back I passed a charity shop and saw this guy in the window looking kinda lonely…20140608-230743-83263663.jpg

I went in and spent the remaining coins in my wallet and went home planning to post him to my friend Ruth who is a fellow Wallace and Gromit fan. But I decided that I would take him to the beach with some of our mutual friends and take some pictures of Gromit to send with him to Ruth for the giggles. If you know Ruth and I you’ll know that such silliness is actively encouraged amongst the two of us.

However…Gromit got dognapped.

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He got dognapped by Mini Kahuna who ‘wanted to see him’ and then hugged him fiercely. And Miss Sweetroot asked if they could borrow him because he had to stay until SUrf Camp. I can’t think where they learned such skills, because you know I’ve never been round at their house and employed similar tactics with any of their awesome cuddly toys. Ahem.

I actually thought the idea was kinda cool, and knew that Gromit would be well looked after. They tried to give him back to me a couple of days later (I think due to parental pressure…) but I said if Gromit came home with me he’d probably not have as much fun learning about redundancy as he would with Mini K and Miss S!

I was totally right…now the plan is that Gromit will not be going to the SUrf Camp but he will go to the Christian Surfers Gathering in Polzeath, Cornwall next month. I can’t go, so Gromit being able to go is making it better, plus he’ll hopefully get to be dropped off with Ruth after the gathering as the head of CS Europe goes to Ruth’s church.

A few days later I woke up to a string of texts on my phone – each one a photo with what Gromit had been getting up to…

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As you can see he’s been to the dentist, celebrated Granny’s birthday by helping eat some cake, gone singing in the rain and even went to Brownies to watch some new Brownies make their promise! Gromit didn’t come to Colour Me Rad with us, but that’s probably just as well as I’m not sure he would have appreciated the colour bombs as much as we did. ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making it Count

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Yep, summer is still here. And I’m absorbing all I can.

More friends are turning 29, and it’s bringing that all important 3-0 closer, there are so many things that once you pass 30, you don’t get the opportunity for. Like a working holiday visa in Australia, for example.

I don’t know why, but each day I’m reminded how I could be dead tomorrow. And it makes me want to have as much fun and enjoy life. Get every scrap out of it I can. I was watching Adam Hills Tonight, and they had a segment called Naked Tuesdays. Naked Tuesdays was started by a great guy called Craig Coombes, who has terminal throat cancer. He just seems like the epitomy of an ‘Aussie Bloke’ – down to earth, sense of humour, friendly, caring, wants to have fun and doesn’t take himself too seriously. He started Naked Tuesdays as a way of showing his family, friends and the world that it’s still ok to have fun even in the face of terminal cancer. That he’s ok with his body. His mantra is ‘Make the rest of your life, the BEST of your life‘. Amen brother – let’s do it!

And I don’t want to wait to get runover by a bus, or diagnosed with some horrible disease to start living.

I love my bucket list. There are loads of ‘normal’ things on it, and some random things on it. Over the last week, as I’ve strolled, sipped iced lemonade, snoozed or read in the glorious sunshine, I’ve been thinking about other things I’d quite like to do.

Like be part of a flash mob. And go punting on a river. Learn Spanish, French and Sign Language. Get my holiday permit for Girlguiding. Try out an adult gymnastic class. Go see the NCAAs. Have lots of campfires and barbecues with friends. Go to more music gigs. Go to a symphony. Oh plus all the stuff that’s already on my bucket list!!

If I die tomorrow, I want people to know I have so few regrets. I don’t even regret days I lay cosied up in a duvet watching a DVD boxset of White Collar. Because I love that show. :) Or when I dance in the kitchen along with the How I Met Your Mother theme tune while cooking my tea before going to a Senior Section meeting.

The times I’ll regret, is the times where I could have done something but decided I couldn’t be bothered. That just sucks.

And so, I’ll jump on a train to meet my friends so we can go to the beach because the weather is gorgeous. I’ll stay in the beer garden and end up going to (what turns out to be a totally crap) fringe show with my friend at 1 a.m. I’ll go rock climbing with my friend. And I’ll go to the cinema to see Despicable Me 2 and randomly say ‘Bottom hee hee hee’ on facebook or while in the car driving with my friends for many months later. I’ll buy the How I Met Your Mother boxset so I can watch it on the days I’m sleepy and just want something that makes me smile. And I’ll attempt to do things on beach car park furniture that can act as a balance beam as the sun is setting over the sea. I’ll give my friends kids squeezy hugs and teach my godson and his brother silly things like dancing in the rain and swinging off of bars. I’ll bounce on a spacehopper or go to university in my pyjamas for charity. I’ll sing out of tune in the shower and the car. And I’ll cartwheel on a beach and end up falling in the sand. I’ll wait by stage doors to meet Logie winning Aussie soapstars. And I’ll wish that I could be in Bristol to go Gromit hunting with my friend. I’ll cheer people on, and try to encourage people to use their gifts and skills and not be afraid of failure. And I’ll bully my boss into pretending to run down a beach reenacting Chariots of Fire. I’ll read my bible. I’ll listen to God, and then I’ll get the words He tells me inked on my skin so I always remember the nutty moments of faith.

I don’t get to choose how I die, but I get to choose how I live.

And I choose to live so I have lots of fun and stories to share.

What else are blogs for?!

Quote of the Week – Week 27 goes BOUNCE!

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I remember when I got baptised, someone gave me a quote that was similar to this one. I won’t say I totally agree with Ida, because I think grief is ok and an important thing. However, the sentiment I think is true.

We can get ourselves stuck in who we once were, or who we might not end up being. So much so that we forget to live. We miss the blessings that ARE around us now. And importantly the blessing we can be.

You know, I got really down at the fact all my friends were running 10k races and marathons for charity. I’m just not sporty at all, I’m really unfit and years of dance training has taken it’s toll on my body. I have a dodgy knee, a squint back, mangled feet…

But I’ve always, always loved to jump, bounce, dance and have fun.

For years, I’ve wanted to get an adult sized spacehopper and do a spacehop for charity. Everyone I suggested this to looked at me and laughed thinking I was off my rocker. And then I noticed a bunch of high school kids had done a sponsored spacehop across the Forth Road Bridge for Love Oliver. Ok so they are teenagers, and I’m well…not. But if they could, I could do it, right?

This year, I finally found a friend mad enough to do it with me. And so I purchased us some spacehoppers, and once we got back from trips away, we took them out….

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…What was it I said about being able to do this? For sure, our practice session could have gone better. We were blistered, bruise and the next few days brought some pain as our bodies screamed at us. But I cannot say we haven’t had fun so far. And we brought a lot of amusement to the passers by on this fine Saturday afternoon down at Cramond Beach…

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…even dogs were coming to ask us what we were up to. And a lot of kids looked on curiously, pointing at us and questioning their parents and grandparents! If nothing else, we brought smiles to people’s faces. And that was before we were raising any money!

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Of course, we’re doing this to raise money for a charity that is near and dear to our hearts. Our target is raise £1000 of much needed money to keep this charity running and providing free and confidential support to people in our region. You can find our team fundraising page here.

And on Saturday 13th July you’ll find us bouncing past this gloomy fish.

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We reckon he’s just sad he can’t go boing like us.

What are you doing to live in the present and to make life worth remembering?

All photos taken by my very talented friend, © Chris Jackson. Just sayin’! ;)

Quote of the Week – Week 23

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Yes, I have been busy, and yes, that quote was quickly scribbled on a piece of paper and captured on my webcam!

I’m a big believer in that quote. I often say that there’s nothing that makes you feel more free that attempting to cartwheel on a beach.

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With my love of gymnastics, I think my friends thought I’d be great at handstands and cartwheels. WRONG! But it’s fun to try. Even when it looks so ungraceful (the word we may be looking for here is ‘flail’) and you end up in a big heap on the sand.

When we live life half heartedly. When we live life too seriously. When we lose our sense of humour. When we’re too afraid of what people think of us to have fun. When we get scared of what it might look like. When the voices of people’s negativity pops into our head. When you fear you might look stupid…

We lose out.

In fact, everyone loses out.

On Monday evening, my boss handed me a card addressed to ‘Mad Laura Anne’. We all laughed when I read it out. ‘You’re totally bonkers‘, said my colleagues, ‘but we wouldn’t have you any other way‘ (phew).

On Wednesday evening, my Senior Section girls started singing along with me to the Fresh Prince rap (one staring at me & Jenny saying how do you know all the words?) as we showed Jenny the clip from the Graham Norton show. I’ve gone back to this video again and again. These guys are now Dads. And yet they are still willing to make fools of themselves to entertain…and they seem to have fun while they are doing it. I hope I’m still willing to do the same when I’m in my 40s (and 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s…)…

And so I’ll sing in my car even when I’m out of tune and have ridiculous dramatic singalongs with my little sister or my friends (ask the Giraffe and I to give our rendition of ‘Masquerade‘ sometime. You’ll likely just stare at us and shake your head in bewilderment). I’ll jump up and do the Saturday Night dance or the Macarena at a party. In fact I totally want to learn Will & Carlton’s ‘jump on it’ dance. It looks fun – especially if you do the facial expressions too.

And yes, I want to live like it’s heaven on earth. Not just because it makes our world a better place, but because this is the only earth we’ve got. We gotta take care of it – everything in it. Humans, plants, water, animals, air and all the rest. When we live selfishly people lose out and injustice happens. And that’s no fun at all. It gets us down. It makes us unhappy.

So. Let’s get dancing, singing, loving and living.

And cartwheeling.

Enjoy the sunshine, skip down the street, share the funnies with your friends.

Who’s with me?

8)

Last weekend…

I got to go to Hogwarts university…

Ok. So Hogwarts doesn’t actually have a university, but if there was such a thing, I’d bet it’d be a lot like Durham’s Castle College.

The lovely Miss Flinderella gave me a bed for the night on Friday and chummed me down to York on Saturday.  It was a weekend of random fun and discovery.

Now seriously considering some postgraduate education at Durham University just so I can pretend I’m a Hogwarts student. Thanks Flinderella for having me and taking me for a drink in a castle. Come visit Edinburgh soon!!

 

 

The Wednesday Hodge Podge – round 2

1. The Wednesday Hodgepodge this week falls on John Chapman’s birth date.  He’s more famously known as Johnny Appleseed…what’s your favourite variety of apple?

Royal Gala or Pink Lady. And I like to cut them into slices.

2.   When did you last say ‘ick’?

This evening I think – can’t remember if I said ‘ick’ or ‘ewww’, but it was because there was something in the middle of the pavement I really don’t like to see.

3.   Do you think there’s a generation gap?  Explain.

Ummm…In life. No – though there are differences between generations, there are generations to bridge the gaps. In church there can be a huge generation gap between students and those who are married with children, and the marrieds and the elderly folks!

4.  What’s on your computer screen saver?  Do you leave it alone or change it often?

At the moment I don’t have anything on my screensaver, but my desktop picture is the Angel of The North – a picture I took while on my road trip 2 years ago. I do alternate between this picture and a picture of the beach at Cape Byron, Australia.

5.  If you had the attention of the entire world for two minutes, what would you say?

Alone we can do little, together we can do much. There are much more similarities between us all than there are differences. It’s time to forgive each other for what we or our ancestors have done to others, and start restoring our world from all the harm, hurt, hatred and destruction.

6.  Four fashion trends to try this fall are-brocade/jacquard (fancy printed fabrics), peplum, lace, and printed pants…which of these four would you be most likely to wear?

Uh…what? I don’t know what anything of those things are. Except lace, and I can’t stand lace. I’m likely to stick with my jeans.

7.  What can make your bad day better?

Chocolate and some American TV boxset action. How I Met Your Mother, Friends, White Collar or How I Met Your Mother usually works the best!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

It may be because my friends kids had me watching the Muppets, or because I’ve been watching too much HIMYM lately, but I really want to marry a guy like Jason Segel. :)

The cream in a can debate…

Thanks everyone for letting me know what you call the cream in a can! I’m intrigued to know what people outside the UK call the stuff. So far the evidence is that in Scotland we say ‘Skooshy cream’ and the rest of the UK calls it “squirty cream”.

Confirmation then that I DID NOT invent the word ‘Skooshy’. :)

:)

If my godson met Heston Blumenthal…

…I don’t think it would be a good thing.

Here’s why…

On Friday, my friend Ruth was heading to do some promotion for Open Doors at a conference called CLAN Gathering in St Andrews. Since there was no gymnastics on Friday, I thought I’d drive her up and see what CLAN was like. It worked out well, as my friends were meant to be at a lunch for church leaders, but there wasn’t anyone to watch their two wee boys. Enter Auntie Laurie…equipped with baby wipes, blueberries, raspberries and chocolate buttons.*

After doing some races across the field, we sat and ate a bit tub full of blueberries and raspberries. Blueberries are Mr Teapot’s favourite, raspberries are mine. Apparently the blueberries had been much anticipated by Mr Teapot who I’m told spent the morning saying ‘Auntie Laurie!‘ and then ‘Auntie Laurie has blueberries‘. Elastatoddler declares that he doesn’t like chocolate he LOVES chocolate. “I’ve loved chocolate ever since I was 2” he says. “I think you might have liked it since before you were 2″ says Auntie Laurie.

An amusing moment came when my godson (Elastatoddler) picked out a raspberry and declared ‘WOW! This is a huge blueberry!!

No, that’s a raspberry‘ I explained. Pointing out the difference between the two berries.

I then told them about how they are full of something called antioxidants, and they help your body’s germ fighting system to battle nasty germs.**

So you won’t get sick?” asked Elastatoddler.

“Yes”

He paused to think on this.

So do strawberries have them?” he asked

“yes”

And blueberries?

Yes”

And blackberries?

Yes. All berries have them. Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries”

He looked amazed by this revelation…

And do bumbleberries have them?!

I laughed. “I think you’ve just made that fruit up!”  and we all laughed.

But knowing that my godson is actually a FAN of insects (he and his Mum are not remotely creeped out by spiders and will pick them up in their hands…) I tried to imagine what a bumbleberry would look like. And I can only imagine that it is some kind of fruit-bumblebee hybrid.

Which is slightly disturbing.

And knowing what a smart cookie my godson is, he could well grow up to be some kind of genius that could create such a crazy fruit.

And that, my blog readers is why I don’t think it’s a good idea to introduce Heston Blumenthal to my godson.

:)

*A fair few friends were already there. It was most amusing how many people saw me with the boys and either 1) didn’t recognise me because I was pushing a pram, walked past without saying hello then doubled backed later exclaiming ‘Oh! It IS you!’ or 2) thought that I’d been keeping the fact I had 2 children a secret.
**Yes. As a health scientist, I’m starting the health promotion education early in life. Don’t worry, I fulfilled my spiritual parenting too as we talked about God stuff as well!