Photo album for January 2019

New Year’s Day 2019 – how else is a girl supposed to watch YouTube these days?

My most popular 9 of 2018. Common themes are Daniel starting at Durham Johnston and Emily bending over backwards.

Big brother celebrating his (belated) 40th birthday presents. Can’t believe my brother is 40!!

Daniel 🙂

See, what happened, was the Bailey’s JUMPED into my coffee just as i was making it and being a conscientious citizen i didn’t want to waste the coffee I’d just made…

“And here we see Man, struggling through the elements, bringing the bin in…” First snow of the year here (17 Jan); gone now but boy did it come down! Six minutes before this picture there was barely a snowflake on the ground.

Photo album December 2018

And here comes Christmas! Hot chocolate and happy sighs 😀

It’s so much fun, when Christmas comes to town…

A cold and frosty morning at school yesterday!

I haz treated myself to my ‘official’ dissertation notebook

Emily fell asleep reading Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls last night 🙂

It just wouldn’t be xbox without a Santa hat.(good luck figuring THAT one out, archivists of the future!)

Wowsers! 😀 look at my gorgeous boy, I can’t believe how big he’s got.

My beautiful girl’s school Christmas party today. End of a cracking term for her!

Daniel got his first secondary school progress report today – and proud recipient of a Recognition Award!

Really lovely Christmas carol concert for Daniel’s school today in Durham Cathedral. And kudos to the soloist – something very special about hearing a child sing Once in Royal David’s City acapella while the entire cathedral—full of 1100 children and their families—is totally silent.

Just seen Mary Poppins Returns which was, of course, practically perfect in every way! 😉 Hope everybody has a very merry Christmas & wonderful things in 2019. Lots of love from The Browns!

The Christmas Eves of Christmas Past and Present!

Good morning world. Not such a happy Christmas as usual for us; poor old Emily has been up since 2am with sickness bug. Lots of snuggles for us today! Hope everyone else has a lovely day.

Patients 1&2 are sound asleep and already the anti-emetic from urgent care seems to be helping Emily. With any luck, a good night’s sleep will do them good, we won’t join them, and we can have Christmas Take 2 tomorrow.

Our creative family time. Emily is very proud of her 3d jigsaw, Daniel made a train, Andrew rocked Daniel’s guitar (in his own way) and I’m rather proud of my attempt at a 3d pen Sorting Hat 🙂

I don’t know about the rest of the uk but Co Durham is seeing out 2018 in style with this lovely sunset. Happy new year to everyone!

What makes a good father?

Reflections on fatherhood for Father’s Day 2017

What makes a good father? I’m sure almost everyone asks themselves this question at some point, whether it’s in curiosity, or panic, or even self-congratulation. Since Beloved Husband first became a father almost ten years ago, I have had the privilege of seeing what makes a good father and I have some thoughts on the subject.

When he learns he is going to become a father, perhaps he feels fear and excitement and anticipation. A good father takes all of these feelings and uses them. Maybe he reads the baby book every day, maybe he talks to the Bump, maybe he near kills himself, trying to make sure Bump will have a safe and secure home. Maybe he goes out searching for the one and only food that Bump’s mother can keep down, whatever time of night it is. Maybe he holds her hair back as she’s sick AGAIN and cools her down because dammit, he can’t do much, but he’s determined to do what he can. And maybe he walks up and down the hospital room all night while she finally sleeps, holding his newborn in his arms. Because he’s a good father.

When the baby is here, Daddy sees this squalling, red-faced little creature and recognises the fragility and potential and commits his entire being to protecting it. He baby-proofs every damn plug socket, every possible source of disaster, and double-checks everything. Twice. He sacrifices sleep, sanity and self-image, thinking nothing of putting a silly hat on or pulling odd faces for hours because it makes the baby laugh.

As the baby becomes a child, there are a hundred new challenges to face. A good father will make mistakes – because he’s trying his best and you don’t get it right until you’ve got it wrong a few times. Maybe he’s too soft, maybe he’s too strict, but he’s trying his best and he’s throwing himself in with everything that he’s got. He teaches his son and his daughter to be strong and to be gentle and to love fiercely and to think and to throw themselves into the world, even when it’s a scary place. And when it’s a scary place, he teaches his children that he is there for them, that they can come back and huddle together for warmth until they are brave enough to go back out there.

I don’t think a good father is perfect. I think a good father recognises his frailties and his faults, and he is unafraid of letting his children learn from these so that they can make their own mistakes instead of repeating his. I think a good father has feet of clay, because really, who wants a golden statue for a father?

I think my children are lucky enough to have a good father.

#bestnine2016 Looking back at good times not bad

Kind of a rough year tbh but I did love these photos. Happy times

#project366 Week 36 

One final pic from Clippesby

On the way home from Norfolk (literally,out of nowhere as we were passing through North Yorkshire!) I came down with the most horrendous cold. I rose from my sickbed to get my hair chopped off. I’m sure it was top of Lazarus’s priorities too… The kids weren’t quite as traumatised as I expected, although Emily wouldn’t speak to me half an hour when I picked her up from school!

Self-portrait. Ignore the grey…

At Merrivale Model Village, Great Yarmouth

Camping near Northallerton

And a quick couple of pictures from our camping trip.

Almost angelic…

Difficult to believe this is the exact same place, the exact same day.

The thinker…

At Chester Park

Castin’ shadows

Newcastle on a Friday night

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Newcastle on a Friday night

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Well, I suppose technically this is a view of Gateshead from Newcastle. But who’s being picky?

Newcastle always gives me the feeling of being a vibrant city, full of life.

The Millennium Bridge here has a hen party crossing over, closely followed by what I suspect is a stag do. Probably with many ribald comments being exchanged between the two groups!

The Baltic, when we crossed the bridge and looked up, had some sort of posh do on, with an outdoor grill and a lady shivering in a flimsy red dress before scampering back indoors with her food.

The Tyne (looking up and away and not at the dirty water with of bits of litter in it that we could see beneath us) glinted in the few ragtag rays of sunshine that struggled to come out from behind a blanket of cloud. Looking to the right the bridges gave me that instant jolt of recognition and pride. I’m a Durham girl myself but the sight of the Newcastle bridges gives people from the region a feeling of belonging and identity.

If I were in a fantasy novel the North East would be a little kingdom dominated by the cities Durham and Newcastle. Durham would be the ancient capital, no longer the powerhouse but the seat of some displaced royal family, regal and proud, and the city of the lawmakers. Newcastle would be the new capital, with everyone in the kingdom drawn here at some point in their lives. The place where the village boy comes to seek his fortune, hearing of streets paved with gold. Watch out, GRR Martin.

But it’s not a fantasy novel. It’s an evening in one of my local cities and I can just enjoy being on the Quayside with the wind around my face and familiar landmarks making me happy.

Memory Walk

A few weeks ago on a whim I signed up for the Memory Walk at Chester-le-Street in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society. It is a fantastic cause and my grandma has dementia so it’s a personal cause too.


My grandma with me and the kids

Now, it’s only 3 miles but it is worth bearing a few things in mind. First, I’m coming from a basic activity level of 0 and the fitness levels you might expect as a result. Second, I suffer from pains in my legs and lower joints so it’s going to be a bit of a push. Below I’ve written up the walk as it happened, only really cleaned up mobile-thumb-typing errors.


Gathering at the start

10.35 Arrive at Chester Park. Loads of people already here mostly in small groups. Quite a few elderly in wheelchairs.
Go to the gazebo with AS on to see if I need to register or sign in but no, it’s all done online. I’m given a tag, though, to write about why I’m walking to hang on a memory tree during the walk.

10.50 A guy is leading warmups. You need to either have the honed body of an athlete or be in a group to pull this off and I’m on my tod so I watch, kind of wishing I was in one of those categories. Ideally both.

11am Someone from Beamish is leading a Geordie folk singalong with Blaydon Races, Cushy Butterfield and Keel Row. Great atmosphere! Local MP Kevan Jones cuts a banner and we leave.  The family in front of me are wearing the official t-shirts but have printed on a photo of the old lady they’re walking for. It’s a lovely, poignant touch.

11.20 Arrive at memory tree. A couple of people taking a moment. Most people taking photos. I’m fairly near the start so there’s not really many on yet.


My tag on memory tree

Doubling back we can see the end of the walk. We’re pretty much back at the start now, I think that’s the 1 mile walk finished maybe.

Yes, a steward is directing us right to finish the 1 mile, and left to continue the 3 miles,  so that’s half an hour and a third of the distance gone.

11.35 Passed the amateur rowing club. I had no idea there was such a thing here. There’s a group all ready to go out on the water.

A volunteer is sitting on a bench with an old man, probably in his 80’s or early 90’s. He can’t walk any further, but rather than give up and get help back to the tent he’s waiting and will rejoin the walk on the way back.
It is surprisingly hard to type on the move! Plus I want to enjoy the experience. My ankles are giving me some pain but the rest of me is fine. It’s quite warm but there’s a lovely, very welcome, breeze.

12pm Left the wilderness of the riverside path behind and cut through a housing estate.  We are much more spread out now; only a group of 3 in front of me and none directly behind. Think I gave them a shock in the last wooded bit as the text alert on my phone sent the hunger games whistle out…


12.10 Keeping a nice steady rhythm going. It doesn’t matter that I’m alone or that my ankles are hurting or that I’m really hot. I feel calm and happy.

We are doing a circle, not going back the same way. I hope someone’s told the old man who was having a rest…

12.15 Arrived at finish line!  I’m one of the early group back and met by smiling husband and kids.  Got a medal and a perfectly timed bottle of water!

I would totally do this again. Get my fitness levels up and go for a more ambitious one too perhaps! I didn’t raise that much but it was so worthwhile; I enjoyed it, and I put myself out for something. I’m proud of myself.