Sunday, 1 January 2012

It's the Dog or the Blog!

Back in the summer the Griffiths' Clan were thrilled to welcome the arrival of Lexi, and life has never been the same since.  Lexi shares Tilly's room, so everything took forever to do because whatever we picked up we'd find a fluffy puppy hanging off the end of it.  For the first few weeks, every two hours during the night I found myself out in the garden, not dressed in a chiffon negligee with a glass of chilled wine, but in wellies and dressing gown with a pocket full of poo-bags!  A very busy time, but all worth it as Lexi is now house- trained and sleeping through the night.  Lots of work still needed, however, especially on her enthusiastic welcome which would knock a horse down, and also her 'shoulder-wrenching' walking on the lead.  We also suffer from 'puppy paralysis' whereby Lexi looks so adorable that we all just stop what we're doing and swoon over her. 
Lexi's Arrival

Lexi's arrival has meant, however, that I have not found a spare moment to visit Blogsville, so I am attempting to do a quick resume with a selection of photos, with a New Year's Resolution that I will try and keep up to date.

So, back in the summer with a van-load of risk-assessments and heaps of preparation by all concerned, Tilly joined in the school trip to Cornwall, staying at a brilliant, wheelchair-accessible Youth Hostel in Penzance.  I went along too with Tilly's PA, Sally, and a brilliant time was had by all. 

Paddling on the beach under St. Michael's Mount
Lunch on the sands of St Ives

Tilly overcoming her fear of balloons at an installation at the Tate St. Ives

Meeting up with friends at the Eden Project

Once again, with Sally's invaluable support, we enjoyed a fantastic week-end at the Calvert Trust, a fully-accessible Outdoor Pursuits centre, thanks to the Jennifer Trust for Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  We went to the Cumbrian site which was mind-blowingly beautiful and we met up with other families living with SMA and got to try so many fantastic activities provided by trained staff who really understood all our needs.  We are definitely going back to the Calvert Trust, but hopefully we will be able to take Daddie and Lexi with us.
Tilly viewing the Osprey Nest on a woodland walk
Yes, that's Tilly abseiling!

Lexi  really makes the most of the garden and as managed to reconstruct all of the ornamental features and dig up the beds.  Our modestly manicured lawn now looks like an war zone.
Thinning out the broom
Helping Daddie with the BBQ

We were really honoured to be asked along to the Donna Louise Charity Ball, where Tilly and I gave a little speech.  As it was local, it was also a special treat to have Daddie come along too.
Treetops 'Jazzamatazz' Ball
One of the major highlights of the summer was the Creative Learning two week summer school at the Regent Theatre which culminated in a production of Fame.  It was truly awesome - never did I imagine that I would see both my little girls leaping about in neon on a professional stage - a real credit to all concerned.

Just adding a bit of greasepaint

Tilly's book goes on sale on Amazon

Such a thrill to see Tilly's book on sale, all proceeds going to the Jennifer Trust for Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  So far we have sent off nearly £1,000 from sales to family, friends and visitors to our Guest House.  Here's hoping it will provide information and inspiration to all who read it, it was certainly very rewarding a project to be involved in, and the reactions so far have been very promising.



Rudyard Sailability was honoured in 2011with a Queen's Award for Voluntary Service - the MBE for voluntary organisations.  It was such a boost for us all at the Charity as we have been having to operate from unsatisfactory temporary accommodation whilst we are battling to realise our dream of a fully-accessible boat store.  A small group went to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen and collect the certificate, and then later, the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire came along to Rudyard Lake to present the Volunteers with their award.

Rudyard Sailability sailing into success
 In September the Griffiths Gels were honoured and delighted to attend the Caudwell Children Butterfly Ball.  It was a truly glittering evening and we had the privilege of meeting many wonderful people as well being entertained by Robin Gibb and Billy Ocean.  The event raised over one million pounds for children living with disability, a fantastic achievement for this amazing charity.

Such lucky ladies!
I have long been amazed and in awe of all involved with the Guiding movement and was bowled over by their sleepover for 300 Guides at Lichfield Cathedral.  It was one of the most spine-tingling events ever, complete with a midnight feast in the grounds in the shadow of the three magestic spires.  Tilly was included without any fuss or drama, not even when we blew a fuse! 

The Guides' Sleepover at Lichfield Cathedral
Looking for the Staffordshire Hoard

Lexi hasn't quite mastered the powerchair finds it very comfortable!

Lights Out!

The Guides, never ceasing to amaze me, laid on a terrific Big Gig with Olly Murs, The Wanted, Pixie Lott, Dion Bromfield, Eliza Doolittle, to name but a few.  We all trooped down and were overjoyed to find that our group were given 'ringside' seats!  What a thrill!
The Guides' Big Gig at Wembley Arena

It was so wonderful at half-term to be able to go on a little holiday with Daddie and the Doggie!  Rolf found a perfect Haven holiday site with accessible accommodation on the south coast, close to our brothers Frank and Martin.  It was so relaxing and so refreshing that the girls could enjoy a bit of independence around the park.  The trip was a real boost to our energy levels and culminated in a night-stop in Windsor, complete with a trip along the Thames.  We stayed in accessible accommodation at a Best Western Hotel which also accepts doggies!  Great location and so fabulous to be able to walk in the park in the shadow of the castle.
Lexi's First Trip to the Seaside
Brighton Rocks
Cruising down the Thames
Who's driving?

Halloween was great fun this year with the usual howls of laughter.
Happy Halloween
Lady GaGa bobbing for apples

Rudyard Sailability was chosen by the Sanja Charity as beneficiary of their Hollywood/Bollywood Ball.  The founder, Pritpal Nagi and his wife Ruby hosted this glorious event and we all took the opportunity to wear traditional dress.  I don't think I have ever felt so glamourous and comfortable at the same time.  Rudyard Sailability is so grateful for the vital funds raised for the construction of the new building which really moved the project along.
Sanja Charity's Bollywood Ball
Sally's Handiwork

Christmas really starts to kick in once we have dug out the santa suits and run the Cheddleton Pudding Race.  It is always an atmospheric race which raises funds for cancer research.
Lexi's First Pudding Race
So much hard labour has taken place at Rudyard Lake with Volunteers, in spite of their own disabilities, donning high-viz, hard hats and boots to keep the project moving and on budget.  Hundreds of tons of spoil were moved from the site and tens of lorries of stone rumbled in for the foundations.  It was a moving moment when the steelwork went up and the building really took shape.  After six long years of battling for planning permission and funding we are determined that our boatstore will be completed and ready for the start of the new season in April.  That will certainly be a triumph over adversity and thanks to the tremendous support from so many hundreds of good hearted people. 
Rudyard Sailability's Building Takes Shape

This is another fund-raising event to swell the coffers of Rudyard Sailability which is well supported by all.

Sailability Santa and his little helpers

As Tilly made her preparations for the festive season she went into hospital for a spinal injection to reduce the pain in her tailbone.  It was a miraculous success that has caused a problem that she has been battling with for a few years, and just thought that she had to endure.  However, the injection was delivered under general anaesthetic and left Tilly with a chest infection to clear.  Just got over that when she was struck with a hideous vertigo attack!  May be Tilly aspirated during this attack and found herself battling yet another chest infection.  This meant Tilly missed a lot of Christmassy activities, but it was a great relief to have her well for the 'big day'.

It's beginning to look a little like Christmas

Lexi's first pawprints in the snow

Lexi looking after Tilly
 Tilly recovered enough to take part in the national breakfast television programme, Daybreak, which featured the launch of a Text Santa appeal for Children's hospices around the country.  It was immensely exciting to be part of live TV and the girls did us proud with their contribution.  
Gethin and the Griffiths Gels at Treetops
 As we rolled into Christmas, so Rolf's family began to arrive.  The best bit was having six month old twins, George and Evie, who completely stole all our hearts.
Christmas Morning 2011
 Rolf was a Christmas Angel this year and took care of all the shopping, cooking and present buying, (and wrapping).  He even ensured that Santa filled a stocking for all fourteen of his Christmas guests - he was sublime.  I have already received orders to book him out for next year, but there is an extra charge for the reindeer pinny option!
At least it's only once a year!

So that's it for now!  We have since welcomed in the New Year with the girls and Lexi, whilst watching the fireworks in London on the TV.  I did my yoga first thing, have now completed the blog and am about to indulge in a champagne cocktail - well, two out of three resolutions ain't bad!

Thank you to all who encourage me to write the blog and take time to post comments which I so appreciate.  I will try my best to keep on blogging in 2012.  In the meantime, from the Cheddleton Five, we wish you a simply glorious New Year, with all that you would wish for.

1 comment:

Denise Deakin said...

Amazing Year you Guys !! Thanks for the update Cheers and Best Wishes for 2012 From Denise xx