The End

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The One About British Weather

Allow me to address a common - and grating - misconception about
English weather...

England is a rather large country (compared to what I know - see below). David and I live in the South where, admittedly, weather is far more favourable than the North. And I suspect it is the North people mostly associate British weather with.

But, speaking for the part of the country I know, it is not always raining. It is not always gray. Take today, for example: a perfectly beautiful sunny day in December - perfect weather for people to be out galavanting in the streets dressed up in corsets for the Dickensian Christmas Festival. It is a high of 12 or 13 degrees celsius and no more than a few wisps of cirrus clouds for miles. And just like this one, there are plenty other days like it.

The summers are beautiful. And if I, coming from a hot Mediterranean island country, can say this, there must be some truth to it, non? Sure, there's more rain than there'd be in summer back home (read: none), but balance is a good thing, is it not?

So really... 'England = gray and rain' is not quite right. And frankly, even when it is gray and rainy, all you need to do is appreciate the plush green areas that would not be able to exist without some rain. So the next time someone in Malta or anywhere else passes a sarcastic remark about British weather when I mention that it's a gorgeous day, I'll simply be directing them to this post, and be done with it.

And as I sit here, with the central heating off and windows ajar to let the house breathe in the perfectly crisp air, I hope that this has been at least slightly educational. (And listen to me obsessing about the weather! Could I be any more British than this?!)

educationally, cgw

My Ode to Winter

In the shower, I love to stand under running water that is far too hot to be safe. It feels like a blanket wrapped around me and if I could postpone turning the water off for hours, I would. Then clothes that have been warmed over the radiator. Dress up so warm that the cold cannot get to me when it wraps around me as I step out of the house - save for my cheeks, turning rosy in the cold - a feeling that wakes me up and makes me feel so alive that even if it's just for one moment, everything is just perfectly... perfect ♥

perfectly, cgw

The Case of the Missing Keys

Despite the holidays, my mind is having a rough time getting back into work-mode. What with all the new things I've learnt at work (and I've very genuinely learnt them - got back from 10 days in Malta and hadn't forgotten a single thing!!! *proud*), I'm suffering with the little everyday things.

...............What did I walk into this room for?
....Why do I have this book in my hand?
.........What was I about to say?
.........................Where are my keys?


The answer to that last one, my dears, is MALTA! I forgot my UK house keys in Malta!

A few hours into the flight - we were already somewhere over France - I suddenly realised that I hadn't heard them jingling about in my bag recently. Cue mad search through the bag on the plane. Nothing. David tried too (while I sat there thinking 'I may be forgetting things but I'm not going blind too and if you dare find them in that bag, I'm going to lose it!' - He didn't)

Once we landed, I called home. Sure enough - they were hanging with the rest of the keys in my parents' house in Malta. Luckily, my sister is currently on holiday there and she'll be bringing them back for me for a hopeful handover at the weekend. Until then, I've claimed hubby's keys as my own which means I get to greet him at the door every evening :)

[img cred: eastbrookhomes]

Twenty Seven Candles


I can't believe how little I've updated this month. I don't think I've ever slacked so much! Then again, it's difficult to keep up the updates when I'm away most of the month. I can't say I'm complaining - it's good to have a break from everything sometimes.

This week in Malta has been good to me. I've done lots of relaxing, bonding with my siblings and parents, just generally chilling out with them, some friends, some reading, lots of sleeping, a massage, barely any photos! I miss hubby but some time apart won't do us any harm either. I can't wait to see him!

And with a great week, 26 comes to an end. My birthday this year promises to be entirely different from last year. I deserve a good birthday, if I do say so myself!

It may be childlike, but I am very excited for 27...!

positively, cgw


[img cred: Cards Unlimited]

L'Anniversario #1

Today a year ago, it all happened. Everything I had ever wished for came together and came true.* It hasn't been an easy year since October 2008. If anything, more things went wrong this year than in any other year. But we are good together. We adore each other's company, never tire of it; we make each other laugh, and left alone, we're just a couple of lovestruck teenagers. We've kept each other afloat, strong, and looking forward.

Housewifery

Rome beckons and here I am, cleaning the house like a madwoman. I'm not exactly sure why, but I can never go away for a few days (not that the duration makes a difference) and leave behind a messy house. Maybe it's the knowledge that coming home to a less-than-perfect home will negate any relaxation that was had while on holiday? Am I the only one who does this? (I suspect not.) I just love knowing my house looks and smells good - even if I'm not around to enjoy it!

I'm mostly packed (which in itself surprises me as packing is generally a torturous task which involves hours of agonising). This probably means that I've forgotten half of what I actually do need to take with me, so I'll be looking into that more closely later.

But for now, back to the hoovering it is for me (with a Dyson, not a Hoover), while the felines attempt to get as far away from me as possible, fur puffed up, giving the Dyson the most disapproving looks they can muster.

PS: *snigger* - look: Vintage Christmas Adverts & Hoovergrams

[img cred: Tatertots & Jello]
cleanly, cgw

The Click


'There is a time when - even before the first leaf falls - you can feel the seasons click. The air is crisp, the summer is gone, and for the first night in a long time, you need a blanket on your bed...'


Carrie Bradshaw, Sex & the City, Season 4 (Episode 66)

I've always loved Autumn ♥

[img cred: Bestselling Art]

dreamily, cgw

I Hope You Dance

Many are perplexed by my musical tastes. And I suppose I'd have to agree. As much as I enjoy most genres, I am possibly happiest when I'm listening to 80s or country.

In that respect, I am VERY much an 80s child. I'd very honestly say that I know more lyrics to 80s music than I do to more recent stuff. And when the 90s arrived (and I love 90s lots too), a lot of my time was spent watching CMT. There's something about country music though that I just love. The simplicity of it? *shrug*

I'll leave you with a song by Lee Ann Womack that I've always found to be an inspiration...

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking
Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making
Don't let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Reconsider
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance


[img cred: Notes from the Trenches] [Lyrics

Meeting Hubby

Four years ago today, to the minute, if anyone had told me that I was about to meet a person who would change my life, I’d have laughed.

Four years ago tonight, I met someone who changed my life.

I’m not one to keep cinema tickets, but this one I’ve held on to - as corny as that may be... So many times I’ve meant to throw it out, and every time it gets kept.

Journal entry dated (the very early hours of) 7th June 2005:
Cora rescued me from the depths of a would-be depression (long story) tonight and we went to watch The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I'm not sure what I thought of it to be completely honest. It was interesting, to be sure. And I had the dolphin song stuck in my head for ages afterwards!!

We later went to McD for a snack, then to Fuego, then moved on to Paceville, where we met a drunken and very amusing Chris, and two friends of his, David and James. We didn't stay long, but I am now having an sms conversation with David. He apparently asked Chris for my number as soon as I texted Chris for it... interesting.
Dear Reader, welcome to the beginning of hubby and me ☺

Two days later, we had our first date. Amazing. But that same night I discovered he was returning to England two weeks later. But for some reason, the Clare who would normally have backed down and dropped everything there and then was strangely determined and confident. We spent every day of those two weeks together. A wonderful whirlwind.

Without going into details (because you all know how it turned out), we made it, and I have never been so glad about having been so darn hard-headed about something!

First ever photo of us together, at a fenkata in June 2005:


♥ Love you

One Summer's Day


Bekah, my niece

Wonderful day yesterday... Denise, James and Bekah came over and we BBQ'd and suntanned in the garden and later we went out onto the High Street to catch a glimpse of the Dickens Festival.

We had a short electricity cut this weekend and it reminded me of the days when we were young in Malta and electricity cuts were very normal. Denise and I would dress up and light candles and play 'olden days' (we were obsessed with Road to Avonlea... I'd still be if only I could find the full DVD set in Region 2!)... and then be disappointed when the lights came back on!

Our childhood was wonderful. Back when being suntanned was healthy, and we didn't need ultra-tecchie gadgets to keep us entertained. An old trunk mixed full of hand-me-down clothing and old carnival costumes kept us entertained for hours on end.

Mine



Today has just been one of those days.
I look at him and see my entire world,
and I cannot quite contain the happiness.

Mine, all mine :)


I wish the weekend wouldn't end.

Hippo the Horse

We are back from Berkshire after a day of horseriding for me. This was David's Red Letter Day experience gift to me for Valentine's Day. We'd booked it pretty soon after 14th Feb, but I didn't want to risk booking before the Spring because I didn't particularly want rain. It couldn't have worked out better. The weather was glorious - and hot!

I was assigned a horse called Hippo. Could you imagine a better name for a horse?! ☺ Unfortunately, he was the lazy horse and sometimes refused to walk even when my 'assistant' pulled him along. But other than that, he was a sweet-natured thing and I took to him pretty well.

I've been horseriding three times before today, spanning about 15 years (!!), but I couldn't ever say I learnt anything much. Today we trotted ☺ Sure, those of you who ride are laughing, but for me that's something :) And I was even prouder because lazy Hippo responded too!

After the lesson, we spent an hour walking (well the horses did the walking) in the fields and woods near Cullinghood Stables.

Lunch followed (served on the premises) - tomato soup, lasagne, chocolate cake (and a little snooze in the car) - and then another hour in the woods. It was lovely and of course my nether regions are rather sore at the moment. But I have a 'country air' glow about me and I just know I'm going to sleep like a log tonight!

Horseriding

Gentle Fawn

Today was the bathroom's turn for a make over. We chose Gentle Fawn. The idea was for it to be subtle but bring out the stone colour of the tiles.

Another afternoon closed up in a room, just the paint and me. Within 30 minutes I was high on the thing and had no escape. I wanted to finish it, today.

Alas, the colour turned out to be a bit darker than we anticipated. It is verging on pink.



...I know, I was shocked too. Admittedly, it lightens as it dries so ask me again in a few hours. But if we ever have a baby girl, the bathroom can be her room. It's already painted right... a few teddy bears here and there, she can sleep in the bath.

So as I sit here, sipping my beer (the paint jobs must be doing something to my testosterone levels... I've been craving beer for two hours now and boy does it taste good!) & desperately needing a shower (my fingernails are encrusted with paint - I detest rubber gloves), I can think only of the reaction my father will have when he sees my handiwork.

All those years of patiently putting up with little me 'helping' as he did up the house, and I still can't paint a straight line to save my life. Sure, the rest is great... but those lines, oh those lines! (Note how I haven't posted a picture of the ceiling area. Oh no, I have way too much pride for that. I'll let you all tell me how amazing and professional it looks... you won't be seeing the edging and detail.)

My dad will. And he'll have a fit.

I do, however, feel the need to thank him for something other than passing his skills on to me (although debatable, of course). He taught me to always clear up right after I've finished doing something. I take this for granted and only today did I actually acknowledge where it came from. When we finished painting a room (or anything else for that matter), there'd always be that extra stage afterwards - the 'not really fun bit' - the cleaning up stage.

This 'skill' has translated to other areas of my life as I grew up. Cooking, leisure, DIY, what have you. I always clear up right away and I can't imagine being any other way! And for instilling that in me, as insignificant as it may have seemed at the time, I thank you Daddy :)

Ps: I get the crooked lines from my mother ;)

Remembering: Three Years Ago

Today three years ago was a day I'd simultaneously been dying for and dreading. It was the day David and I left Malta and moved to England. It wasn't a temporary move, we knew that. We knew we wouldn't be returning for good (until possibly retirement age!). This year, at last, the date doesn't make me feel sad. This morning, David and I lazily recalled the problems we encountered (setting up bank accounts, missing boxes, etc) and the minor culture shocks (even though many in Malta insist that the fact that we speak English means that moving to England is no trouble at all); acknowledged how far we've come since that day.

We'd been together for 10 months at the time. I know many people thought we were crazy. Certainly about each other. Possibly the other type too. Who knows? Who cares? It worked out :)

We'd gotten engaged ten days before, a shotgun engagement if ever there was one. I packed up my entire room in a daze. I wasn't quite sure what was going on realistically until the day before we left, when my parents came to say good night and we cried and cried. My heart breaks a little bit again just remembering it.

That first day in the UK was a shred of hell. It's been a MANIC three days. First day was godawful. I thought I'd never settle in. I was exhausted, working on 3 hours of sleep, totally exhausted and emotional, having just left my entire family behind. And once we got here, everything started going wrong. We tried to open bank accounts, and were refused; got sim cards that are enabled to call overseas cheaply, but were told it'd take 48hours to activate them; tried to find calling cards, but no one's ever heard of Malta; didnt find the phone line we were told would be waiting for us [at the flat] when we arrive - we were instead informed that our order was 'misplaced' and would have to be reinitiated and that'd take 1.5 weeks - from an old blog. Had I been given the chance to simply turn back, I possibly might have that day. Things got better after that though and thanks still goes to Natwest for being the only bank to give us the time of day and to put a smile on my face for the first time ever in England!

By the next day, I was feeling much more positive: The dock is lovely. Just outside the window and balcony we often have visitors of the ducky type. The swans don't usually come too close (snobs). But we still get to see them swimming gracefully along the dock as if they own the place. Then at night, the ducks sleep on the boats in the dock. It really brings everything to life so much more.

I love it here :)


We'd moved into a small 1.5 bedroomed flat overlooking Royal Victoria Dock in East London. I suppose the water being so close by made us feel slightly more 'at home.' If nothing else, there were some terrific views.



Within a week David was at work. I stopped using the Internet Cafe in Greenwich and finally had internet at home. A month later, I started working too. Visitors never ceased. They were our lifeline to Malta. The tears slowed down. Concerts, theatre, travel all became part of a lifestyle we love. We moved out of that flat a year later and into a larger one very close by, and so on and so forth from then on.



In reality we were just a couple of kids trying to make it somewhere in a big, big world.

All pictures dated April 2006.

Six Months


Six months ago today :)

For, you see, each day I love you more,
Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow

- Rosemonde Gerard

Thanks

I usually write an end-of-year post with highlights from the year gone by. Yeah, well I started my end-of-2oo8 post at the beginning of December, but I kinda got stuck at March and never quite finished it. Suffice to say it was a very big year for me. It was the beginning of my happy ever after, the year I married a man who is not just my best friend, but an extension of myself. I cannot begin to imagine a life without him. 2oo8 is all about him.

In addition, there are some people I know I would not have made it through without... I think you know who you are and I hope that my appreciation shines through at any given time we talk or spend together. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being there and for being you. For being the type of friends many girls could only hope to have.

And to David, thank you for being a husband dreams are made of; for making my soul beam with happiness; for making my life complete.