Huge sighs of relief all around as the news filtered in that the Staffordshire Moorlands District Planning Committee voted against the recommended demolition of Rudyard Sailability's boatstore and granted the Charity a six months' extension. This vital time will allow Rudyard Sailability to go through a mediation process with the licenced managers of the Lake on 15th February, and hopefully sort out the future of the Club, without having the added worry about whose garage or garden we can safely store expensive our electronic fleet and associated equipment.
More good news as I am now back in 'blogland' as Rolf has managed to sort me out with a working computer. Nothing quite prepares you for the shock of realising that you might lose all your work on your laptop, and nothing inspires you so much as to back up information regularly! I could see Tilly's book, precious photographs and all my Rudyard Sailability documents disappearing into hyperspace - what a nightmare. Just so lucky that Rolf was around to rescue material before the thing went kaput!
So excited was I that my lovely Mum was on the way that I waited for two hours at Hanley Bus station for her, only to discover that I was there a day too early. Rolf rang me with a Gordon Ramsay-style "Unbelievable!" Only the sad thing is that it is actually quite credible for me as I am very often in the wrong place at the wrong time!
Skidded back to Leek in time to collect the girls from Chess, whizz them home, have tea and then return for Tilly's first ever School disco. It was an anxious start as her very best friend was not with her and Tilly did not have a special friend to be with and explore. After a short time with her teaching assistant, Tilly built up the courage to go wheeling into the hall, and was soon 'strutting her stuff' with her classmates. I spent the time 'in her radius', picking up litter and mopping up water spills and managed not to behave like an overprotective Mummy - I hope! Tilly said she had a great time and is already wondering what she will wear to the next one. Another mission accomplished.
Some bad news from the local swimming pool threw all Candice's plans into disarray on Saturday morning as she had planned a swimming party at 2pm with seven of her friends, and we discovered at 1pm that they were closed due to technical reasons. Poor Candice, I felt so sad for her as she was all 'bikini'd up' and ready to go! Frantic calls to all her friends brought disappointment for Candice, but a plan to try again next week. Candice's beautiful smile was restored and she settled in for an afternoon with a couple of her mates. Phew!
Meanwhile, we needed to get into Hanley to pick up Nana who was definitely on her way this time, only to discover that we had a coach bolt buried in the front left tyre! I was sure this must make three things by now, but I should've known that counting isn't my forte as the news came that Hanley was the venue for a potentially violent demonstration by opposing forces starting at 3pm. Mum's bus was due in at 2.45! Fortunately for us a beautiful friend stepped into the breach and drove me into town and Mum was safely scooped up amidst armies of riot gear clad police officers! Never a dull moment!
Nana's arrival filled the house with joy, and Saturday night's pasta was extra-delicious seeing my Mum around the table.
Tilly, Nana and I attended to a very important work once Candice had gone to bed as we had to decorate the lounge with birthday banners and set out her gifts and cards around the fireplace. A last minute gallop around the sales had meant that there was a verirtable mountain of presents for Candice to open. The girls take their birthdays very seriously indeed which is lovely.
Candice celebrated her twelfth birthday in style with chocolate croissants for breakfast. It was then on to her piano lesson and then to Church, dressed in her 'jacket of many buttons' where everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to her and also to Tilly, whose birthday is just three days later. We raced home for more present- opening, oatcake lunch and then we dropped Nana and a neighbhour in the Tea Rooms and Candice and I mountaineered up the Roaches in the rain for a stimulating hike. It was awe-inspiring to be up so high, commanding brilliant views and taking on the elements. Candice said it was the icing on her birthday cake! The other wonderful thing about the route that we took was that we think that we would be able to manage Tilly in her all-terrain buggy next time if the weather is a little kinder. Can't wait!
Candice chose Daddie's brisket of beef with Yorkshire pudding followed by his speciality 'creme brulee'. Too, too delicious for words, but a perfect tribute to a wonderful little girl's birthday celebration.
The girls enjoyed their first Burns' Night Supper on Monday with Daddy 'piping' in the meat and vegetarian offerings and reading out "Ode to a Haggis". Rolf finds it almost impossible to let any culinary opportunitiy pass him by, and this one was all the more special because it was also our 13th Wedding Anniversay! "Who'd have thought it?" Rolf always says on our Anniversay that our wedding day feels just like it was yesterday, and whilst the listener is covering him with 'aahhhs', he says that he wishes it was tomorrow, because he'd cancel it! Just like Rolf, and I find that I still laugh at his jokes!
Preparations are still going on for Rudyard Sailability's Mediation meeting with Rudyard Lake Limited which is coming up on 15th February. When we get together I am continually amazed at the mountain of work that has gone on by volunteers to try and get a lease for an accessible building at the Lake. Surely all this intense work and commitment will pay off on the 15th - time will tell, and until then, my heart is in my mouth and my stomach in a knot. It means so much to the Charity.
Nana came to see Tilly swimming at Horton Lodge special school last night and Tilly delighted us by swimming fourteen lengths without a buoyancy aid. This is such an unbelievable achievement as just before Christmas Tilly was only able to float for about ten seconds without support. Tilly was awarded a certificate for her efforts which she will take in to school for the Class Achievement Board - "What a great birthday present!" Tilly said. Nana was overjoyed and can't wait to tell her sister, "Auntie Val", from Wales who follows every moment of the girls' progress. They really are so well-loved and supported and I am sure that this carries them on to greater things.
Tilly's squeals of joy rang around her bedroom at 0630 this morning as she sang, "It's my birthday and I am ten!" I carried her into the lounge which was bedecked in birthday banners so that she could check out her presents. Feeling suitably delighted with the veritable mountain of gifts Tilly got on with her morning routines, stopping every now and then to open a gift or card. I had enclosed in our birthday card a photograph of her and I a few hours after her birth, sitting together in the day room of the local hospital. Such a lot has happened in those ten years and, of course, my eyes misted over with emotion, only to be yanked back to reality with Tilly declaring, "Mummy, I am a decade - what a decade it has been - the best decade ever!"
Tilly is right, of course.