31 December 2010

Heralding 2011...... and a look back on 2010

I'll be early and wish you all a happy new year, not that I plan to have heavy evening you understand.  Just a quiet steak dinner with hubby, a few drinks maybe.....

We have enjoyed spending time with Rufus this last week, he been back and forth and I got to spend the afternoon with him yesterday whilst his mummy went out for lunch and to see Harry Potter with her daddy.  We had a good time sleeping/walking/dancing, we made eggy bread for tea and had fun at bath time, though I was glad to have Rachel around for the tea/bathtime, you really do forget how to do things one handed, especially with a wriggly little boy.

2010 has been a good year for us - mainly due to the appearance of Rufus in June, I just can't imagine life without him now.  We've had a busy year, lots of concerts, 4 good holidays, several weekend breaks.  A few ups and downs healthwise within the extended family, but everyone seems to be ending the year on a high, fingers crossed.

I am thankful to the new friends I have made on Ravelry and so pleased to have had the opportunity to meet Susan whilst we were in Chicago at the end of June.  I hope that I will have the chance to meet up with some of the others at some point, so ladies if you find yourselves in the UK please let me know, the door is always open for a visit. I must also mention the ladies at the Medway Craft Group in Huntingdon, see you all on Thursday.

I have achieved a fair amount knitting wise - 60 items knitted from my non-decreasing stash plus a number of other garments that I have bought yarn for.  I plan to try and stash bust again this year but pretty yarn is just sooooo tempting.  I had some new toys for christmas - circular/rectangular knitting looms, when I've finished my current project - something for me for a change, I will have a play and see what I can create.

Our garden is looking very neglected, so many leaves still to clear up but the garden has either been too wet or too frozen.  I still have a sack of daffodil bulbs to plant, bit to late now, though I guess I could plant them up and try them indoors.

However you plan to spend your new year's eve, I hope you have a good safe time and wish you all a healthy 2011.

27 December 2010

Didn't they do well...........

In fact so well they can do it again next year, thanks to you both, it was a real treat just to sit and knit and chat.......
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22 December 2010

I'm done!

I love a list and today I ticked off the final item.........

Cards written, posted and delivered
Presents bought, wrapped and delivered where necessary
Food shopping done, apart from a few last bits

All thats left to do are the fun bits ..........
Get some flowers and make a display
Baking ...............
.............. finish a bit of knitting

Work will finish tomorrow and then holiday until 4 January, can't wait.  I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and that the weather doesn't hamper your plans too much.

19 December 2010

Simply farewell..................

Saturday 18th December, 2010 was the last time we were to see Simply Red in concert, their farewell tour was winding to an end.  So imagine our horror when getting up yesterday we find that inches+ of snow had been dumped on the London area, with it continuing all through the morning, we had nothing more than a light dusting.

We had Radio London playing and listened to each of the 15 minute updates, we watched live feed from the M11 motorway cameras, we had lunch - not the meal we had planned in Green Lanes!!  We listened, we watched, we called the O2, show still going ahead dispite the weather.  What to do, we looked at Peter, it had to be his decision, he would be driving and being responsible for our welfare.  Beck had already backed out a few weeks back (sensible girl) so we were taking Rachel's friend Claire with us.  By 3:15 the cameras at the lower end of the M11 showed traffic moving well and the roads looking not to bad so we decided GO. 

15 miles from home we met the snow coming up the M11, queue neck tension....  we continued on, roads were constantly being salted and ploughed so whilst slow it wasn't too bad.  A close encounter with the side of a truck, wheel studs are quite large close up!!  Some idiot driving fast in the outside lane showered us with slush which left us visionless for a few moments, but once we hit the bottom end of the M11 the roads in and around London were amazingly quiet and clear, in fact we did the stretch to and through the Blackwall Tunnel in 10 minutes rather than the usual 50+.  To say we all sighed with relief on reaching the O2 car park would be an understatement.

The girls treated us to dinner at TGI Fridays which was good, though it was obvious from having been to the O2 on numerous occasions that the numbers were down, only a 25 minute wait for a table.  Once inside the arena, the atmosphere was very subdued, huge gaps in the seating told a story and by the time Macy Gray (support) came on it was under half full. By 8:45 when she went off it had filled up a bit, but I would say by the time Simply Red finally came on it was maybe 2/3rd full, the O2 sits 23,000 and this show was sold out. As I said the atmosphere was very subdued, I expect like me most people were worrying about their journey home, especially as we had had 2 text messages to say that it was still snowing in lower Cambridgeshire at 8pm.  After the 3rd song Mick finally thanked us all for turning out and made some comment about people complaining on the internet that he should have cancelled the show, but he said what would we all have done, well Mick stayed at home, in this day and age its possible to cancel an event and people get to know about it long before they turn out!   It wasn't until over half way through that the usual buzz finally kicked in and people started to relax.  They took far too long to come back on stage for the final encore. On reflection, not the best Simply Red concert I've ever been too, the band seemed tired and looked like they were just going through the motions, but made up for it by ending the show with Holding Back the Years, a few tears were shed.....

And now for the drive home..... again in and around the London area was clear, but once we hit the M11 the fun started. From Harlow up the motorway had only one lane that was passable, so it was a slow and scary ride.  We watched the temperature drop to -12.5C, the likes I've never seen, the water in the window washers froze. We finally arrived home at 1:15am to just the same dusting of snow.

So Mick, do you know who the real star of the evening was? My wonderful husband Peter, who got us safely too and from the concert so that we (me in particular) wouldn't be disappointed. Thank you, I love you xxxx...

18 December 2010

Craft central

A couple of weeks back Rachel and I spotted some fabric trees in town, which we considered vastly over priced and decided that we could make some if we put our minds to it, see the chaos that was my lounge a few days later.........

We still have a couple left to decorate, but two went off to their new home yesterday (and looked very good in-situ) and I wanted a picture of them all together, I have since removed the bows from one pair as I considered that less was more.  I think they look pretty good if I say so myself, they cost us nothing as I had the fabric and wadding already. Peter made the bases for us from wood he had by him - can you spot Audrey helping?

These are a couple of Christmas hats I made for Rufus, I've seen him in the Santa hat..... beyond cute, I only have a picture on my phone and have mislaid the lead so can't download the pictures

Half Birthday

Rufus is 6 months old, can you believe that he has grown so quickly. It has been a wonderful half year getting to know this little man, watching him change from week to week, watching his parents grow in confidence and become a real family. I feel priviledged to be able to spend what time I have with him and I know that the best is yet to come, as I just love the 6-18 months stage

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Lunch time - the only time he cried yesterday was clean up time.  The solids are obviously doing him some good as he gained 1lb 6oz in the last 3 weeks, though baby led weaning is messy

Happy again - chatty man, he has found his voice and jabbers away 19 to the dozen.

16 December 2010

Brussels in pictures

Christmas shop windows

Christmas Market

Street Art

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We had a great time, walked miles, ate lots of waffles, drank lots of mulled wine (vin chaud, gluhwein) and hot chocolate. It was cold, very cold.  Now its time to get on with Christmas, I came home and panicked a bit, but I'm now in control of myself, I have made lots of lists and am slowly ticking off the things I need to do, so I best get off here and get on with them!

7 December 2010

Are you finding it cold?

Its a bit chilly around here these days -7.5C this morning when I went to work, -2C when I came home, -4C right now.  Just checking through some photographs and see we had snow on the 17th December last year,  which was in its self unusual for us, I'm just thankful that we have missed most of the snow and that we don't live in the north of the UK, I feel so sorry for those trapped in their cars and homes.  Spare a thought for all the emergency services out there, and a special thanks to our local council for keeping the roads gritted so I don't slide to work. I have a feeling its going to be a long winter. However, we are nice and cosy, the wood burner is fired up and I'm just about to make hot chocolate with a dash of Bailey's of course.

3 December 2010

Proof of the pudding

I forgot to post pictures of my cooked Christmas puddings, so here we go, they are all repackaged and stored away for now, but believe me they smelt so good

These are a couple of knits that I've completed for Rufus, I really must stop taking the pictures at night as they really don't photograph well, hopefully I can post some more of him modelling them in a better light

The hoodie I finished this evening.  I need to decide what to knit next.  I think Rufus has enough to be going on with for now, so maybe a throw or something to try and use up some of my stash which just never seems to diminsh! But then I do have a small forest of fabric Christmas trees that need decorating so maybe I should get those done first, time is running out only 3 weeks til Christmas.  Have you got your shopping done yet?

1 December 2010

4:30 is just too early

this morning I woke early, no reason that I know of, just thought it was time to get up.  So frustrating as I didn't manage to get back to sleep, just lay there listening to Peter breathing. Sounds like he is getting my cold btw!

Looks like we are in for another cold day, I hate this weather but at least we didn't get anymore snow overnight.  When I say I hate this weather what I really mean is driving in it, if I got to stay home and enjoy it that would be fine but getting from A to B with others then thats a different ball game.  This weather is far to early, we usually get snow in February if at all, so I guess its going to be a long winter.

1st December today, how is the Christmas shopping going?  I'm getting there slowly, oh well best go and get ready for work )-: 

Have fun, keep safe x

28 November 2010

Busy weekend

As you can see I've been busy this weekend, warming squash soup for Saturday lunch; a Santa hat and Candy Stripe hat and mitts knitted for Rufus. Christmas puddings made and currently oven steaming, still 1.5 hours to go but its worth it. I've made this recipe since 2002 and it never fails to please.

We only got a dusting of snow but it has been very cold, did a bit of shopping yesterday and managed a good walk this morning, so a productive weekend. Feeling much better today, though still have a head full but the cough has subsided which is a relief all round -back to work tomorrow )-:
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26 November 2010

A week on......

and I still have my cold.  My head is bunged up, ears keep popping, but at least my chest is clearing a bit.  Only woke myself up twice last night and Peter only once, he's not enjoyed a full nights sleep for a week now too.....sorry.

I'm filling my days with a bit of knitting, some baking -Flapjack and St  Clements Cake, and listening to the radio, I got called into work on Wednesday which did me no good - thanks Alex, I'll get you back.  I may go for a walk today to try and clear my head, but it will need to warm up a bit first.  Currently -2c, but the sun is out and we have frost but no snow as yet.

No plans for the weekend.  I should really get on with some Christmas shopping but can't actually be bothered with it right now.  I have cards (which I could write!) and wrapping paper, a few gifts and that's about it.  Bird is ordered, I need to make some puddings and anything else that can be made prior to the day.  Peter and Rachel are cooking Christmas dinner this year! Will I be able to keep out of the kitchen? What will I do with myself? Currently we have my mother in law and her partner joining us for the day.  The Jones family are coming on Boxing Day - this will be Rufus's first Christmas, he will be 6 months old. I'm sure for him it will be just any other day this year, but for us all a new era, we get to play Santa again and keep the secret for as long as kiddies are allowed to these days.

Whatever you are doing this weekend, keep warm......... mulled wine, now there's a thought, medicinal right?

23 November 2010

Holiday knitting........

 Fairisle slipover for Rufus

Fliptop Mitts for Rachel, she knitted a matching hat

another slipover for Rufus which is nearly finished

I also made 4 bean-bags in various sizes from the felted Breton jumper and a few pom poms with my new toy, not as much fun as 2 bits of cardboard, but very quick, so as you can see I used my leisure time well

Christmas comes early.....

A parcel from my Grandmas Hand Swap partner, Bev, arrived this morning. The contents include yarn, which is very naughty as it adds to my already extensive stash, but I will find a pattern and knit it up quickly so that it doesn't languish there too long. And of course I will post a picture of the resulting item. I had planned not to open this parcel straight away but couldn't resist. Many thanks to you Bev
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Introducing Rufus to our favourite place......

Southwold, Suffolk - my most favourite holiday destination. I have been every year since I was 9 years old.  I never tire of it and this year Rufus came with us for our November break. I think he enjoyed it, his mummy got another cold, which I now have, as does her husband and son!

In the collage above you will see Peter and Rachel paddling!!  Yes, they are mad, it was freezing.

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11 November 2010

I'm done.......

I've been very busy this week on the knitting front. I have completed the replacement Breton Jumper for Master Rufus, I think I actually prefer this one.  I've also completed my Celebration Swap package, which has gone in the post this morning to Noreen.  I will be turning the felted Breton into a textured bean-bag, as suggested by Mummy Jones.

My next project, which I will start this afternoon at my knitting group, will be a fairisle tank top, again for Master Rufus, I have sorted out the 5 colours required but need to decide which will be the main. I really enjoy having a knitting project on the go, its good for concentration, stops me eating and keeps me awake in the evenings!

7 November 2010

Rufus 20 weeks or never to young to wear a poppy

Yesterday we got to spend the day looking after Rufus whilst his mummy and daddy decorated their bathroom. We had a lovely day; we spent the morning walking around Stamford, Rufus slept most of the time. Back home for lunch, then out again after a bit of a play. We walked over to Burghley Park to see the deer, Rufus managed to stay awake, in fact decided that he no longer wanted to sit in his pushchair so we took it in turns to carry him, Pops taking the lions share, good bonding time I say. Its amazing how heavy a wriggly little boy can been, we should have taken his sling, log that for next time.

As you can see Rufus is wearing his poppy with pride, a cute addition to his hat
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5 November 2010

Rainy day baking ........

what is it about these grey wet afternoons that makes you want to bake?

Here are some fruit scones I knocked up earlier, should be good with some butter and jam  - homemade of course.  I've a bran loaf in the oven which will also go down well over the weekend.  We will have to make sure we do plenty of walking to counteract the calories.

These little mittens are to go with the hat modelled on previous post by Rufus, it will be interesting to see if he'll wear them as he does like to suck his fingers.  We've had them stay for a few days as his mummy was poorly and his daddy was away on business.  We enjoyed their visit and I even got to go swimming with him

4 November 2010

Busy needles - part 2

Oddments of aran weight yarn used to knit this little hat one Friday afternoon, don't you think the model looks lovely?

Rugby Romper finished
my model just needs to grow a bit! Though its not actually as big as it looks

Mittens and minder, dashed off on Tuesday evening.

So what next? 

I have several projects in mind but first I need to put together a parcel for my Celebration Swap partner on Ravelry - Grandma's Hand Forum.  This will comprise of some knitted christmas decorations plus lots of other goodies.  I will post some pictures once the parcel is sent and received, rather than spoil the surprise.  I get to send to Noreen and Bev gets to send to me and so it goes round.  I will also post pictures of what I receive.  No pressure then!!

1 November 2010

Out with the old

this weekend has been about clearing out. 

As previously mentioned we are having our barn turned into a garden room.  To do this we need to clear out all the junk that has been dumped in there over the past 11 years!!  No mean feat I can tell you, firstly we needed to clear space in the stable - aka Peter's workshop/Harley store, this was done with him kicking and screaming that he would now never be able to find anything, to me its now tidy!!  So that was Saturday gone. 

Sunday we started on the barn, boxes and boxes of books mostly his!  This took us most of the day as he had to go through everything.  I have been ruthless and put out most of my old books for the charity shop, if I've not read them in 11 years I'm never going to.  Rachel was there to help and with a short break for a late lunch we have broken the back of it. 

My car is full of things for the charity shop.  We have a pile of stuff to go to the tip.  So once we've found a home for the remaining items, mainly christmas tree/decorations we should be ready for the carpenters to work their magic.

The only downside to my garden room is that I have had to cut down my beautiful Wisteria, I confess I shed a few tears whilst putting it through the chipper.

27 October 2010

Busy needles

Lots coming off the needles at the moment. 

I finished my 28's cousin 53 scarf, will upload a pic when I take one in decent light. 

Loads of Innocent Smoothie bottle hats for Age Concern, Rachel and I are off to a Knit In this evening to hand them over and knit some more. Will take my camera and get some photos of that too. 

A Rugby romper suit for Rufus to match the cardigan I knitted for Beck, though this has multi striped cuffs and collar to add a bit of bright.

 So busy busy busy............

Gorgeous boy.....

opened up my hotmail account this morning and look what was there for me, wearing his Breton jumper that I knitted him too.

22 October 2010

I didn't mean to laugh!!

Peter got a bit of a surprise this morning.  Dressed ready for work, standing in the bedroom stroking the cat, chatting, suddenly he grabs the seat of his trousers "oh my god I've been stung, there's something in my underpants".  Frantically he pulls his trousers and pants off and there is a queen wasp!!  She has stung his bottom!!  The only thing we can think is that she flew into his pants on the washing line yesterday, I bought them in, folded and put in the airing cupboard, and the rest you know.  He just called in to pick up his wallet left in the commotion earlier, I enquired on the sting, "its sore" was the reply.  Guess it will be uncomfortable as he has to sit on it all day, we will both be checking our underwear for a while.....

21 October 2010

Baby its cold outside

for the 2nd morning this week we have woken to a sharp frost.  It's cold, but sunny which I don't mind, do we need the frosts so early?  Scarves and gloves have been pulled out, the heating finally on.  Thoughts turn to casseroles and dumplings, warming soups and hot puddings to fill our tummies - and thicken our waistlines!!

All week I have been trying to stave off a cold but I think my body has finally said, its ok, its the weekend you can give in now, nose is running/sneezing and I'm shivery, well thanks for nothing, hate being ill in my own time, its just not fair.

18 October 2010

Autumn leaves.....

Yesterday we spent a lovely day in London. We met with our good friends Judy and Stephen, had brunch at the Sepentine Bistro in Hyde Park. Wandered through Hyde Park, Green Park, saw the guards at Buckingham Palace, along the South Bank to check out the Cheese & Wine Festival and back again collecting leaves along the way. Sat in the sunshine and put the worlds to rights. It really was a good day.
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16 October 2010

More handsome by the week

Rufus is now 17 weeks and I'm sure you will agree a handsome lad.  Of course I am biased and I really don't care.

14 October 2010

Tenby - finished at last

Yesterday evening I put the final stitches on the Tenby cardigan.  I'm very pleased with it, even though it has taken a month to knit.  Admittedly there have been some evenings when I didn't pick it up.  I really hope the eldest likes it, if not, well it fits me ok!!

Next project is a scarf/shawlette called 28's cousin 53!  Basically a 53 row scarf, knitted on a circular needle in 4ply yarn.  28 is a ....yes you got it 28 row scarf knitted in double knit yarn, quite a bit longer but a simple knit.

12 October 2010

'He's a very nice man, a very very nice man

that was Neil the AA man who came to my rescue this afternoon. When I returned to my car I found a note saying I had a rear flat.  Call was made and he was with me within 15 mins.  Many thanks Neil, especially for not making feel like I should have changed the tyre myself.  Not that I would have had any idea how to do it, its what we have men for right?

11 October 2010

Weekend report – or oh my aching limbs

It’s been one of those weekends, you know the kind, go out to do a small job and end up spending the whole day at it. Such was my weekend.
On Saturday morning, I popped out the front of the house to sweep leaves, and ended up clearing my whole front garden; you see we had bark chippings over most of it and they have composted over the years and the weeds were growing out of it. So I have removed all the membrane, compost and weeds, and now have a naked garden, a clean slate so to speak. The decision is what to do with it, more membrane/bark or a complete change. I will leave it for a bit before I decide.

Other Saturday news -

The youngest is back on the saddle again, yes, they went into town on their bikes – result.

Peter cooked Biryani – enough for 6 people, it was very good though, took him all afternoon

On Sunday morning, I went out to dig up snowdrop bulbs from the front of the barn – the barn is soon to become a garden room watch this space. I had already cleared the plants and went in search of bulbs, as this was in the shade, I decided to go and help hubby on the veg plot and warm up and stretch out the limbs from Saturday. Veg plot now looks very tidy, the runner beans and courgettes are just about finishing but the root crops are doing well, as are the squashes. Anyway back to the bed in front of the barn, with hubby to help the bulbs are found in quick time, he also dug up lots of roots for me. Alongside the bed is a nut tree which we usually keep coppiced, it’s not been done for a few years so has got out of control, hubby decides to play lumberjack, complete with saws, ladder and chipper we spend an hour going through the smaller stuff, along with ivy that have also taken over the tree. He then decides to tackle the bigger stuff, not such a good idea, there were a few heart stopping moments before he decided to call it a day, neighbour came out and offered to help while we were clearing up!! So a plan of action is needed for the remaining larger limbs! This has taken us all day; we missed lunch and settled on a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits mid afternoon. Our day was completed with a visit to the Wok & Grill for dinner, followed by an evening at the Corn Exchange listening to Joe Bonamassa – I could hardly move by the end of the evening!!

On the knitting front – our visit to the Knitting & Stitching Show went well, though I came home yarnless!! Never been heard of, hubby was shocked.

Progress on Tenby is slow, just have 3 stripes left on the last sleeve, then sew it all up and knit the front band – not looking forward to that; 400+ stitches to pickup and knit.

I missed seeing Rufus this week due to the show, hope he didn’t miss me too much, but he did send me a text with a picture attached just so I wouldn’t forget what he looked like.....bless him xx

7 October 2010

Out with the old ......

today has been the annual cull of the youngest's wardrobe!! She likes clothes, lots of clothes, she also likes to hang on to clothes, lots of clothes. I have managed to convince her out of 3 bin bags full, one was just shoes and boots alone.  All her clothes are now nicely sorted, all her work clothes in one side, coats in another, casual in another.  The middle section of her wardrobe has all her bags, sports clothes and craft stuff neatly stacked and tidy.  She even has her own yarn stash, in fact more yarn than she realised, obviously taking after her mummy!  After lunch we attacked her garden, cleared her veg patch and got the grass cut.  A busy and productive day

Tomorrow we are off to Ally Pally for the Knitting and Stitching Show, we expect some stash enhancement to take place (more on that another time), we will round the day off in Green Lanes for a lamb kebab, the husband is jealous..........

5 October 2010

You've got to be joking.....

last night - October 4th - we saw the first Christmas toy advert on TV. For goodness sake people its only October!!!

Bah humbug

4 October 2010

I don't like Mondays.....

my normal 15 minute commute took me 55 minutes this morning, not a good start to the working week, plus it was raining!

2 October 2010

Staying with Granny....

We have had the pleasure of Rufus and his mummy staying over last night. We've had lots of cuddles, he was such a good boy. Slept in his travel cot from 7pm to 4am, then was fed, changed and back to sleep by 4:30am, then awake at 7:15am. We got to have early morning cuddles too. Rufus comes with lots of baggage, how does one little boy need so much stuff?

The poor cat is still beside herself, not only was there Rufus and Beck staying over, Rachel was here too, along with 2 guys fitting our new wood burner. Audrey's normal place to hide is the barn, but we were all out there, I got the girls to sort all their stuff which they have stored for years. She keep stalking around sniffing and won't settle, she really hates her normal quiet house being taken over. Not sure how she will cope once Rufus starts running around. Leave home I would think!
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29 September 2010

Dreaming of holidays.....

With the days drawing in my mind turns to holidays.

We still have a couple to come this year - our annual trip to Southwold and a 5 day trip to Brussels, both of which we are looking forward to immensely.

Brussels - we’ve not been before. Eurostar and hotel are booked, ordered a travel book from Amazon rather than print off reams of paper from the net. It looks like we will be eating lots of moules and chocolate and drinking lots of beer plus I’m sure there will be a pastry or two in there somewhere, just as well there is plenty of walking to do. Looking forward also to the Christmas market, may even try my hand (or should that be feet) at ice skating!!

Southwold – our home from home, same house for the last 3 years. Rufus gets to enjoy the delight that is Southwold for the first time this year. My first visit was at 9 years old and I have been every year since then, I’ll not tell you how many that is. Both the girls spent every summer there with us when younger; we had a caravan on the campsite for a number of years, happy days.............. With many more to come I hope.

Next year – 2011 - where do the years go? You will find us off on the Harley to Croatia for the Harley Davidson European Rally, and a possible trip to France. Time is booked off but nothing arranged as yet.

Oh and I still have 2 more days to take of this years leave, so what shall I do? Answers on a postcard please

25 September 2010

Saturday bonus

I wasn't expecting to see Rufus this week, but as the weather was awful yesterday in Blakeney Mr & Mrs J decided to come home a day early. So when the phone went this morning inviting us up, there was no stopping us. We had a lovely day, took Rufus shopping while his parents got on with some jobs - he woke for coffee. After lunch we walked to Burghley Park with his mum, he slept again for that too. Its a hard life being a baby........
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