Monday, 22 July 2013

Sadness in the midst of happiness…

The experience of one mother at Lancaster was so very different to mine.The graduation ceremony opened with Sir Chris Bonnington paying tribute to Ryan Rostron, a student who should have been graduating. Tragically, Ryan was killed in a car accident in May 2013, just after handing in his final dissertation. Ryan was just 22. He was awarded a posthumous degree.


At the end of the award ceremony Ryan’s mother and sister were called to the stage to collect his degree. They received massive applause from the congregation.

I was very moved by their courage. How difficult must it have been for them to take centre stage in the midst of such happiness when they must have been been feeling such great loss mixed with enormous pride in Ryan’s achievements..

Tom didn’t know Ryan, but I found out that Ryan had faced challenges in his young life. He suffered from dyslexia so to have been awarded a degree was no mean feat, and needed to work to help to pay his way through University.

As parents we are prepared to do almost anything for our children but I’m not certain that I could have shown the bravery and courage of Ryan’s mother.

We were sitting just behind the family. I salute them for applauding the success of others whilst going that extra mile for Ryan. Accepting his award with grace, strength and quiet dignity.

I am counting my blessings, tears streaming down my cheeks with sympathy for a woman I don’t know, but with whom I feel an invisible connection.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Tom’s graduation…

Some of you guessed correctly; Tim and I were the proud parents at Tom’s graduation.


Sir Chris Bonnington, the Chancellor, gave an excellent speech to send the graduates on their way.


A number of friends and colleagues have asked to see the photographs – probably to prove that it wasn’t a ploy for me to get put of the Alton Towers queuing experience!!

Getting ready…








An international group from China, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Bulgaria.

Tom’s experiences at Lancaster, and the University of Colorado (Boulder) where he spent his second year, have changed him from a boy into a man – although his penchant for wine gums and ice cream has remained unchanged!!


For comparison I dug out Rhiannon’s graduation photographs. Unfortunately my outfit from 2007 was a bit tight so I needed something new….. honestly, Tim!! We are standing on a slope, giving the impression that I am much shorter than I am- I’m actually 5’7”.




In 2009 Tim was awarded an honorary degree from Loughborough University where he studied in the 1970’s. Notice my outfit again…


Gerald Davies the Welsh international wing from the 1970’s was honoured at the same time.


Thursday, 18 July 2013

Watch this space…


Today is a special day for this little (now big!) boy.




Can you guess why?

Monday, 15 July 2013

Sometimes life gets in the way…

… of blogging, which is precisely how it should work. It would really be so very sad if one was to allow blogging to get in the way of life!


I’ve been telling myself this for a couple of months as my posts have become more sporadic. It’s not like I don’t have anything to post about. In the past couple of weeks I’ve marshalled at a couple of Race for Life events, taken a trip to the Natural History museum in London, had a few end of term nights out, cracked along with the renovations to Rhiannon’s house,had a couple of sets of Tom’s friends staying and been to a wine tasting. Another highlight was the retirement celebration for my friends and colleagues, Corrie and Deb who I’ve been privileged to know for nearly 30 years. I’ve also written over a hundred reports and proof read another two hundred! All of this beside the day job.


This week will be our leavers’ evening, Tom’s graduation in Lancaster, (of course I shall miss the Y8 end of term jolly to Alton Towers ;o)) and a special BBQ with my good friends Sue, Barbara and Corrie (and husbands).

We break up on Friday, so next week will be the final (fingers crossed) push to complete the renovations. Tim will be taking leave from work to mastermind this.


I’m sure that I’ll post my thoughts on some of these events over the coming weeks, and hope to experience a bit more of ‘la vie Francaise’.

In the meantime I’ll blog and visit when I can…

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

He knows me so well…

The last time we travelled to France we arrived at the Shuttle Terminal at Folkestone after a horrendous journey along the M6, M1, M25 and M20. The terminal was crowded and there wasn’t a seat in sight. I was so fed up I couldn’t even be bothered to treat myself to something nice from what used to be called the ‘duty free’, which usually has the effect of brightening my mood for a few milliseconds!! I’m usually so desperate to get to France (even if it’s only as far as the Premiere Classe at Boulogne-sur-Mer) that any delay puts me under a cloud.


We are definitely going to look at our travelling times for next year, helped along by my new timetable. More about this in another post.

However, Tim came to the rescue…





Who can stay in a black mood for long when eating a ‘99’?

Never let it be said that in 34 years Tim hasn’t learned anything… ;o))

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Art – making a difference…

A few weeks ago Rhiannon invited me to attend the opening of an art exhibition which had been organised by some of her colleagues. The venue was apt; the old law court at the Shire Hall in Stafford. The art work was terrific, produced by young people who have or are at risk of offending, working under the guidance of an established artist. The Staffordshire Youth Offending Service has been awarded a Gold Award by the Arts Council England for its innovative work to address offending behaviour in young people through art. The team work hard to support young people to overcome problems and issues in their lives, reduce reoffending and promote public protection in Staffordshire.

Here is some of the work…





   Rhiannon’s colleagues…

IMG_9255The artist…


For obvious reasons I’ve decided not to include photographs of the young people involved, even though their photographs were published in local newspapers. The event was supported by local councillors and officials.

I really hope that projects like this make a difference in turning round the chaotic lives of some young people.