Never one for impulse, Guy informed me after we’d waved both our boys off on the school French trip, that he had taken some days off work & booked a hotel for us so let’s get home quick & pack the bags!
Just in case…
So here we are at The Langdale Hotel in The Lake District. Guy knows I’m a stickler for attention to detail & it was great to arrive in a hotel room to find the toilet rolls folded to a point & a golf umbrella available in case we need to pop across to the swimming pool in a rain shower. There were even bath robes on the bed wrapped in beautiful silver bags.
Pillow talk & a bath robe
Guy walking towards Great Langdale
A warming glass of mulled wine
Today we walked in bright February sunshine from Great Langdale to Little Langdale Valley via The Three Shires Inn. It was a lowland ramble with breathtaking views of snow-capped hills. It’s been so long sinceGuy & I took some time out together, just the two of us. I even found that I wasn’t thinking about Simon, I was just enjoying Guy’s attention & not even a humongous period to spoil it.
Perhaps it was the two pints of landlord’s finest that Guy had just enjoyed in The Three Shires or my glass of spice-laden mulled wine but we skipped back to the hotel hand in hand at a quickening pace, fumbling with excitement to open the door to our room with one of those key card things.
When, eventually, we got in, Guy thought we should avail ourselves of the comfortable bed & bath robes. Honestly, he couldn’t even wait until after we’d been for our meal. Guy did look handsome with his hairy chest poking out the top of the robe and it hid his expanding girth very nicely too – although I do draw the line at a medallion. He was pretty complimentary about me too – it’s been quite some time since we both grabbed some afternoon delight!
Brrr! I hope you are managing to stay cosy. I’m keeping warm with lashings of hot steamy cocoa, even managed to burn my tongue yesterday so there’ll be no French kissing from me for a while. I do wish the boys would take their snowy boots off before they come into the house; they make such a mess – even had to tell Guy off about it yesterday.
The weather has meant that this week’s meeting of the Upper Welford Greenhouse & Garden’s Society was cancelled. The committee decided it was too hazardous for our elderly members to make their way along the icy pavements on a dark evening plus the boiler in the village hall was playing up.
It means of course that not only shall I have to wait until another time to hear speaker Mr Gordon Balmer on Prune Your Exotics but also that I’ll miss my fortnightly dose of gorgeous committee member Simon & the remaining strands of his hair silhouetted in the slide projector.
Conversely, there’s been signs of new growth in my garden as the winter aconites have started to peep through the receding snowline. Soon will follow the snowdrops & the hope that Spring and all its brightness will soon be with us.
At ‘Team Celia’ we are also waiting for our lovely camera & editing expert Shirley, who anytime now is due to give birth. Lots of hugs & best wishes & I’ll keep you posted on that. Just below is Shirley & the rest of Team Celia in a short video put together from various clips by Rachel’s daughter Rosie.
It’s always a bit of a low point when you reach this grey, miserable, post Christmas time of year & the reality of just how many Celebrations you ate over Christmas starts to hit home. Everywhere you turn there’s pressure on you to metamorphose on Jan 1st from your chrysalis into something bright & beautiful: ‘a new you’. Perhaps I’d just rather accept my limitations.
Still there was a little brightness to the day when, driving through the village after dropping the boys off at school, I saw the delectable Simon on his usual morning stroll from the newsagent. We gave each other a little wave. I did wonder about stopping the car, winding the window down & offering him a lift but I didn’t want him to catch me without my barely nude foundation. And besides, as we were only 50 yards from his home, I didn’t want to appear too keen.
The object of my desire
‘Cleaning the boy’s bedroom dispelled my romantic notions’
What with the excitement of seeing Simon, especially with his bald head fully exposed to the elements, my hot flush had worked to boiling point by the time I arrived home on the drive. A calming cup of tea & a couple of Jaffa Cakes were in order. Then cleaning the boys’ bedrooms soon dispelled all romantic notions. You should have seen what I found under James’ bed especially after his girlfriend came to stay over New Year (supposedly sleeping in another bedroom!)
The house seems so empty with the boys back to school; they’ve both got important exams this year; Julian has GCSEs & James has ‘A’ levels. James has just got an offer from Cambridge. It all means extra pressure for me of course – on top of everything else. It’s a good job I’ve got Guy, my ever dependable & reliable husband. What would I do without him?
I write this from the settee with a large box of chocs; I’m on my own in the house this afternoon whilst my two boys are with their mates & hubby Guy still at work before breaking up for Christmas. I’ve just had a rather surreal experience at this morning’s aquafit as we burnt off our calories to the worst ever technopop cover version of Christmas songs then dived into a box of Celebrations brought along by our trainer, Kerry.
I have been having great deliberations about whether to send Simon a Christmas card. We are after all acquaintances through the Upper Welford Greenhouse & Garden Society so hopefully his wife won’t suspect any ulterior motives, hopefully just thinks I’m being neighbourly. So with heart pounding , I strode up Simon’s garden path, not even stopping to admire the Viburnum Tinus in his border, posted my festive greetings through his door & scuttled back though the gate.
Shirley edits ep2
This last few weeks I have been very excited by the introduction of my Celiatime49 YouTube channel thanks to Kris at The Legend of Skippy. In the coming weeks we hope to upload all sorts of snippets, outtakes, uploads & new episodes as we film & edit the series of Celia films. Listenupnorth has just had a big edit session with Shirley & we hope to bring you episode 2 soon. Here’s a GUEST REVIEW by ElementaryVWatson of how 2012 has gone for listenupnorth.
Anyway, Guy’s presents are still to wrap so I suppose I’d better get round to it before he comes through the door in need of a large gin & tonic. So I’ll wish you a fantastic Christmas – whatever that may mean to you.
I am absolutely thrilled this week that celiatime.com has been included on the mumsnet.com bloggers’ network list. With mumsnet I never feel that I am just a housewife; not only is mumsnet the UK’s busiest social network for parents (7m visitors per month) but it is also a great supporter of women’s issues.
And the winners of Celia’s Beautiful Blogger Awards goes to…
It is part of the condition of acceptance that in turn I give the award to 7 other blogs which I think worthy of the award and whose blogs are definitely worth a follow. Not surprisingly, with my romantic scribblings for magazines such as Afternoon Tea Companion & Celia – The Film, writers’ & filmmakers’ blogs have strongly influenced my choice. But I am also paying tribute to other talented individuals whose ideas have helped me along the way to claim the title of ‘Upper Welford’s Domestic Goddess’
After much deliberation, here goes in no particular order (rustle of golden envelope):
We all need a bit of retail therapy on occasions. Preparing for episode 3, I needed a makeover to reflect my new found confidence (to find out why you’ll have to wait & watch ep3 when it’s released!). Therefore I needed no further excuse to head for the shops.
I am also very pleased to announce
The winners of the Celia Romantic Story Writing Competition:
First: The Morning Read by David Graham Ward
Second: Fulfillment by Irene Styles
Third: The Dreamer by Agnes Frain
The winning entries will shortly be available to listen online or download from listenupnorth.com
And the Runners Up:
A Holy Passion by Amabel Craig
Making Things Happen and A Woman’s Dilemma by Margaret Nesbitt
Following a sleepless night, the day arrived for filming Celia episode 2. Fortunately Guy has been very understanding about moving out of our bedroom and having it on show globally because he knows how much making these films means to me. My OCD went into overdrive & after wiping the downstairs loo for the umpteenth time, listenupnorth arrived with lots of reassurance for my ragged nerves and we started to prepare the set.
Through The Looking Glass
Then camera & all-round expert Shirley Anne Wood arrived. Shirley is now with ‘bump’ and after a big hug was immediately forbidden to lift anything heavier than a teaspoon. Time to put the kettle on & arrange a tray of fruit & Mars Bar Mini rolls placed out of camera shot to ensure we all keep our sugar levels during the strenuous task of filming. Whilst Shirley set up the lights & camera , listenupnorth and I watched episode 1 in freeze frame so we could place all the toiletry bits & pieces on the dressing table just as I had left them as I walked out at the end of the last episode to answer the door to Simon.
Following on, this episode takes place in the evening & I’m recounting what went on (or off!) when I found Simon on the doorstep. As before, the idea was that delivering the monologue, actor Penny Lamport would express her internal thoughts to the camera placed behind her dressing table mirror (with glass removed). She would also address the audience directly into a second camera at the side of the dressing table.
Penny & Sue arrived to more hugs to complete ‘Team Celia’. After putting the kettle on again & a quick catch up on everyone’s gossip, we had a final call for the loo as we would be unable to leave the room for several hours once the cameras were in place. Part of the driving force to complete our series of 6 short films was Shirley’s worry that, as she expands with baby, she would soon be unable to fit into the tight space between the camera & the door! In addition, actor Penny has expressed concern that she might not look 49ish for much longer. But I would take that with a pinch of salt as that woman has drunk the elixir of eternal youth.
‘Team Celia’ in action
It seemed to take an age of faffing around with lighting to ensure the correct night time ambience plus checking sound levels & positioning cameras before we were finally ready to call ‘Action!’. However, all the preparation paid off and the actual filming progressed very quickly & smoothly. It was ‘in the can’ by late lunch and we were able to sit down to our baked potatoes followed by celebratory chocolate eclairs. Now more hard work as Shirley takes it all away to edit & prepare Celia – episode 2. So watch this space!
I am waiting eagerly for tomorrow when filming is to start on episode 2 of ‘Celia, Housewife 49ish’ . Hopefully. We were supposed to film last Tuesday but rainfall of biblical proportions meant that poor Shirley with all her camera & lighting equipment had to turn back due to floods & blocked roads.
However we did manage a dress rehearsal the day before. Preparing for a night time scene we had to blu-tack lots of thick black card up at the bedroom windows. Sue gave lots of really helpful advice from her time at the BBC & was very tactful when dealing with writer & director listenupnorth’s indecisiveness. And I did think that actor Penny cut rather a dash in my dressing gown & slippers. She looked quite at home as she rehearsed her lines. Just needed a cup of warm steamy cocoa to complete the picture and calm her conscience after a romantic brush with Simon from the village Greenhouse & Gardens Society.
No expense spared – Penny borrows my slippers for this demanding role
Of course living with OCD it’s been a nerve wracking experience to prepare my bedroom for the shoot. I must have wiped round a dozen times already not to mention washing & ironing the curtains. You should have see the dust behind the drawers when Guy moved them out to make room for the camera. I thought if my bedroom is going out global I don’t to be found wanting in the cleanliness department. So I had Guy paint the skirting boards just in case.
Now all I have to do is put a note around the neighbours asking them not to use their lawn mowers & chainsaws tomorrow. Very difficult round here with so many active retired people, as the wives do like to send their husbands out into the garden every day.
It’s a little while since they shot episode 1 so they’ll have quite a job to line everything up on the dressing table for continuity purposes. Roll on tomorrow when they arrive – ‘Lights, Camera, Action – and Cocoa!’
‘Team Celia’ Executive Management Meeting listenupnorth, Penny, Sue & Shirley
After an executive committee meeting in Starbucks round hot chocs & cafe lattes, I am delighted to introduce a new member to ‘Team Celia’. In addition to Penny the actor who plays yours truly, Shirley on camera & editing plus listenupnorth who created me & puts the words in my mouth, we now have Sue who comes with lots of experience at the BBC & is going to help with producing & publicity, developing a sound business model & giving listenupnorth an occasional reality check. That way we can all make more in the series of short films about me ‘Celia, Housewife 49ish’ to delight you – our audience.
listenupnorth was absolutely chuffed that everyone wants to continue. In fact she was so excited that she became very bold & interrupted a gentleman in the corner reading ’50 Shades of Grey’ over his Expresso Grande and asked him to take a team photo.
I am writing this from the ferry homewards to Plymouth, England is just in site. Lots of anticipation up on the deck as the boat approaches Blighty. Reading the first British newspaper for a week, my loyalties are torn between wanting to return to the haven that is Brittany and wanting to boycott everything French in Brit loyalty to Will & Kate over those photos. Checking celiatime.com on board I was thrilled to find that it has just been awarded a Beautiful Blogger Award thanks to Susan at Women Making Stridesblog.
Silver sands of Kerfissien
It seems a lifetime away but it’s only yesterday since we were on the warm silver sands of Kerfissien – like England but without the litter and the anti-social behaviour. Plus there was the almost surreal landscape of giant boulders so typical of this area. The children & dogs on the beach reminded me of an illustration straight from Le Petit Nicolas. Reading tales of the mischievous school boy & his copains was Miss Mitchell’s Friday afternoon treat for our French class and for a moment I was back in that bright airy classroom, in my cotton school dress, a summer breeze wafting through the sash windows and wondering if Adrian Brewis would be on the school bus at hometime.
Our boys were enjoying the sea and a makeshift game of volleyball. Guy & I aren’t great sunbathers so we went for a walk along to the next bay. Neither of us like the sand betwen out toes so I’m afraid it’s socks with sandals again. At least Simon wasn’t there to see me looking so uncool; I bet his wife is one of those outdoor types with bare sunkissed feet and trekking sandals. Guy of course had to wear a hat to protect his bald patch which wouldn’t be so bad except he has a couple of strings which tie underneath to stop it blowing off. Still at least he didn’t wear the stripy breton top he bought himself on a rainy afternoon in Brest. It’ll be just like the Hawaiian shirt episode all over again; well at least old Mr Parsons got a bargain at the next church bring & buy sale.
We’ve had a super time in Brittany but as we are about to go down to the car deck I am looking forward to a cup of coffee with cold milk, driving on the correct side of the road, Northumberland beaches with bracing winds & watching Cash in the Attic in pounds not euros!