Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Wetting the baby’s head

July 10, 2019

There is a tradition apparently of when a baby is born that the father and close male family and friends go out to ‘wet the baby’s head’. But where did that term ‘wetting the baby’s head’ come from?

Traditionally taking its name from the Christian baptismal rite, during which the head of a baby would be wet with blessed water, the phrase now commonly relates to the consumption of large amounts of alcohol as a celebration of the new arrival.  The true tradition meant that the Dad went out with his friends the night after the baby was born, I guess it’s some sort of male bonding or show of virility or something along those lines but in this case the celebration was a few weeks after Callum’s arrival.

The upshot of all this was that Roy and Ian headed out on Friday night to the William Campden Pub to meet up with Ian’s Dad, brothers and mates.

The happy celebrations

Eagled eyed readers will note an interloper, Ian’s Mum just so happened to be going past and popped in to say hi. Meanwhile Alex and I were at home with Callum, so what did we get up to? After a very simple dinner, Callum went to sleep and Alex and I followed suit shortly thereafter!

Apparently the blokes imbibed in some suitable liquid refreshments and spent a jovial evening together. Callum has had his head appropriately dampened, next will be registering his birth so all appropriate documentation is done. Next it will be time to get his passport so he can visit all his NZ family.

Showing off Mums new passport, won’t be long before he has his own.

A week of firsts

July 4, 2019

It’s been a week of firsts for Callum this past week, already we are seeing him change and grow and I’m sure he is already smiling and trying to talk…..but I am an unbiased grandma 😉. He was three weeks old yesterday and starting to be a bit of a character. He was well past his birth weight after the first week, he is a very long limbed young man which he obviously does not get from his grandma!

Summer has finally arrived so we set up the gazebo over the outdoor table on the lawn for some welcome shade from the English sun. Callum came out and just lay about on the table, happily sleeping most of the day away. I must add that it got up to 34C that afternoon so outside in the shade with a gentle breeze was the way to stay cool for all of us.

Just chillin’ laying about on the table in the garden

Sunday was family day out so we all walked down to the train station and caught the train into Greenwich.

First ride on a train

We were heading to Greenwich market, we’ve been here many times before but there is always something new to see, and taste, we were kept busy looking at all the various stalls, especially the food stalls outside.

Crowds at the market

After wandering around for some time we had a bite to eat, a pulled pork bun for me, traditional fish & chips for Alex & Ian, and Roy had to try a few raw oysters.

I do admit to buying a new scarf (after losing one on recent travels) and I may have bought some Pontefract Cakes (I was born in Pontefract, read about the cakes here) and a selection of lovely bone handled knives which we use as butter knives and pâté knives. I know, some of us have strange likes and our return luggage is going to be a very interesting and eclectic mix as I have purchased 6 toasters as well. These toasters are ones that go on the gas hob and I’ve been using since we found one in France in 2010. They do need replacing every few years but they are not expensive and work better than any of the other myriad of toasters on the market, and believe me when I say I’ve tried them all.

But back to the market adventure. We had all split up to go and look at different things. Later we all met up at the pub in the market for a well deserved drink. Another first, Callum’s first outing to a pub!

At the pub

Of course it was a no alcohol beer for mum whilst Callum slept through the whole outing before it was time to return home. The return journey on the train was uneventful but we were all felling pretty exhausted after our big day out.

The next day Alex tried out Callum in the sling, Ok, we admit it, we did YouTube it to get the instructions on how to tie it, although I must add that we went searching for a clip that included the use of a real baby rather than a doll!! Real babies wriggle and squirm so it was good to see it in real terms.

Doing the origami with the sling

and it worked surprisingly well, and very simple once you mastered the technique. Now why weren’t these around a few years ago when I needed one rather than trying to wrestle with a frontpack with buckles and clips. Yes, I know slings have been used extensively in some parts of the world for centuries, just not in my world.

Look Mum, no hands!

The sling has been tried and tested with a trip to the supermarket which proved very successful as Callum slept though the whole shopping experience.

He’s watched football and cricket and according to Ian he has to cheer for England in football/soccer but he’s allowed to cheer for the All Blacks in rugby. But of course he will definitely be a Silver Fern fan in netball!

On the road/rail north

June 18, 2019

We had to drag ourselves away from Callum….oh, and Alex & Ian too, so that the new family could have some good quality time together. As Ian gets just two weeks paternity leave it was time to leave them on their own to find their feet. The day before we left, Ian’s parents Chris & Barry came to get in a few cuddles.

Nana and Grandad Denny

And it looks as though Callum is going to be a thumbsucker, just like his mum was and his dad too.


The following morning Ian took us to the train station at Abbey Wood, a bit further away from the local station in Erith as Abbey Wood has the direct train into Kings Cross Station where our next train heading to Yorkshire would be leaving from.

We were soon on the train heading north and even though the weather wasn’t exactly screaming summer, the skies reminded us of paintings by Constable over the farmland.

Oh and have we mentioned before how much we enjoy travelling by train??

We wizzed through many small towns, stopping at just a few larger cities including Doncaster, which was where my Grandpop lived.

Before long we pulled into Selby, our destination for the next couple of days to stay with my lovely cousin Pauline and her husband Pat. Those of you regular readers will remember that 18 months ago we met up with Pauline & Pat in Lanzarote where they were living. Since then they have moved back to the UK (bloody Brexit!).

We went out for a drink one evening before dinner where Pauline and I took up position in the Naughty Corner.

In the naughty corner

We mostly behaved ourselves, honestly, we did!!

This was at a lovely pub, which Roy tells me he is going to write an entry on the pub so you have that to look forward to.

We then took a short walk to a nice restaurant for a bite to eat, along the way we had to walk past Selby Abbey.

Selby Abbey

The Abbey celebrates its 950th anniversary this year. It is one of the few surviving Abbey churches of the Middle Ages. An Abbey is defined as a complex of buildings used by members of a religious order under the governance of an abbot or an abbess. It provides a place for religious activities, work, and housing of Christian monks and nuns. Many abbeys were self sufficient with monks and nuns having a multitude of skills from stone masonry to gardening.

We had a lovely meal before heading home for a nightcap – yes John, we’ve introduced Pauline & Pat to Pedro Ximinez😉.

Earlier in the day we had picked up a rental car as we are heading off on a bit of a road trip, not sure exactly where as yet but northern Wales looks like a good contender. I am the driver for this part of our trip around so I will be avoiding all large cities and metropolitan areas as much as possible. We will be returning he car to Selby and staying with Pauline & Pat before training back to London.


June 15, 2019

It’s with much love that we welcome into the family Callum Jacob Denny, born on the 11 June 2019 weighing in at 9lbs 8oz.

Callum just a few hours old.

Alex and Ian returned from the local hospital just a few hours after he was born where he was quickly settled into his new surroundings.

Callum chillaxing

And just so that he knows where he’s from

Kiwi clothing

It’s hard to believe where Alex hid him, he must have been tightly curled up, as the day before we went out strawberry picking.

Roy, Alex and Ian in the strawberry patch

Out and about a couple of days after he was born, Roy and I went into a Hamley’s Store (a children’s toy shop), where we had a look at this

It’s never too early to start with LEGO, right?

We are sure that when recommended for ages 2+ means 2 days plus doesn’t it?

And following his parents in more ways than one

Thumb sucking must be hereditary

We have now left them to have time to themselves to do a bit of exploring but will be back in a week or two.

D Day

June 6, 2019

Today is the 6th June, 75 years since the D Day landings on the Normandy beaches and both here in the UK and in France, commemorations are taking place with people from all over the Commonwealth and USA (including the orange blimp) are attending.

Here in Erith, it’s D Day plus 5.

What will be, will be.

Meanwhile, we are still keeping ourselves busy in the garden. We have put in trellis on top of the back fence. One; for a bit more privacy and two; for the climbing plants to clamber along.

Regular readers will know that when we were here 18 months ago, Alex and Ian had the back garden landscaped which included removing a stand of very large conifers and having two terraces built.

Before and after the landscaping

Now with plants planted and the trellis work up plus a small wooden fence around the top level hiding the raised vegetable beds, it’s all coming together.

Two trellis panels in place

The completed work

it’s all looking rather good, so much so we had a BBQ the other day.

Alex and Ian inspecting the BBQ

We have planted up the veggie raised planter boxes but then realised we needed to protect the seeds and plants from birds having a nice time eating all the seeds and the foxes digging up our hard work. So at the moment we do have bird netting in place but I am about to make cloches to cover the planters. However I am just awaiting for some supplies to be delivered so I can make a good job of them, otherwise I may get fired!!


We’ve arrived!

May 23, 2019

After an uneventful 36+ hours of non stop travelling, we arrived safely in London at 5.40am local time.

We left Auckland on time on Sunday (NZ time), with an easy, quick check in. Our travel broker Sarah Southcombe (Travel Advocates) had asked for wheel chair assistance for me which I wasn’t particularly thrilled at the thought of but as it turns out it was a brilliant idea. We were taken on board first and settled into our seats which being at the front of the section meant we had lots of extra leg room, the flight passed relatively quickly (11hrs or there about) and we were soon in Hong Kong.

Getting off was a different story though, we just had a short wait for all those eager beavers to escape and I was met at the door by another wheelchair where we were then whisked along the length of the airport, or so it seemed, to our next flight. We only had to wait for an hour or so before we were again loaded onto the flight for the next long journey, nearly 13 hours this time. But hello, a couple of passengers were missing so we were delayed whilst their luggage was found and removed then we had to wait for the next available slot before taking off about an hour later than anticipated.

This next leg was very bumpy in places especially flying over China and Russia, and in a different aircraft where although there was plenty of leg room, we seemed to be crammed in widthways. I tried to sleep, I’m sure I managed an hour at the most before giving up on the idea of sleep and instead watched a few forgettable movies.

We arrived in Heathrow on time at 5.40am and again waited until everyone else disembarked before we were whisked off to immigration then luggage retrieval followed by an exit through the green customs channel to the welcoming sign that the driver Alex had organised was waiting for us.

Just a little aside, there was another woman who was also met by a wheelchair on both legs of the flight, a very, very, loud Australian woman. I’m afraid she did nothing for the reputation of Aussies as she complained and demanded constantly. “I’m in business class” “I need to get off first” “my driver will be waiting for me” were refrains we heard time and time again. As we sat waiting to get off at Heathrow she continually berated the staff demanding that she needed to be off first as her driver would be waiting, after hearing this a few times I did say to her that we were all waiting patiently and we too had a driver who would no doubt be waiting for us as well. When it came time to get off the aircraft, the staff turned to me and said ” your wheelchair is here ready for you now madam” and with that I was escorted off first. She wasn’t too far behind us and when it came to luggage pick up she was again demanding and berating staff to “hurry up” and “I need to go NOW” which we heard in the distance as we left the luggage area to exit as she was left waiting at the luggage carousel. A please and thank you make all the difference to how you are treated, something she could well learn to say.

We were on the road off to Alex & Ian’s in the comfort of a very nice car arriving at their home just before 8am local time. To say we were thrilled to be there is a little bit of an understatement, due in 2 weeks time Alex is looking very good and it was so lovely to finally be here. Over a cuppa we opened up the bag containing all the gifts for them and the baby, with lots of oohs and ahhhs elicited.

Roy managed to stay awake for a couple of hours before heading off for a nap at around 10.30am, I woke him at around 2pm in the hope that he would get some sleep later that evening. I managed to keep myself going until just after dinner time, before crashing at around 7.30pm falling asleep almost instantly and sleeping through until 5.30am the following morning. A brilliant effort on my part I thought.

The knees and hip have been a bit sore, ok very sore, but I’m sure mostly due to sitting for long periods and not taking medications at the right time, but now on English time we have that sorted and it won’t be long before I’m back to feeling better.

So now we wait for the new arrival, in the meantime we are keeping ourselves busy doing a bit around the place, where and when it’s needed. Roy mowed the lawns this morning and I did some weeding, this afternoon we made a visit to the local gardening shop to get a few plants.

And yes John, before you ask, we have been to Morrison’s (and Sainsbury’s), for our shopping fix 😉.

Countdown is on

May 14, 2019

This time next week we will be in London and to say that we are just a little excited is an understatement. Even the thought of being kept captive inside a thin metal tube for 26 hours isn’t that daunting, it’s just something that we have to get on with.

We are basically flying straight through with just a 2 1/2 hour stopover in Hong Kong. Yes, we are going through Hong Kong this time, we are still refusing to go through the USA – our little protest against adding to the tourism figures of a certain orange coloured figure that is pretending to be President – and as we went through Singapore last time, Vancouver the previous trip, this time Hong Kong draws the straw. We are flying with Cathay Pacific and we haven’t travelled with them before so this will all be new.

We are starting to write lists of what we want to take with us, but one suitcase has already been filled with goodies for Alex, Ian and the baby. There are things to sort out with bits and pieces here before we go and there is always something at the back of your mind that you can’t quite recall but you are positive that you have forgotten something. Time will tell.

Of course things haven’t exactly gone to plan. With just one week until we fly out, I was heading to bed when I noticed that the carpet at the end of the bed felt very very cold, no hang on a minute, that’s not cold, it’s damp. A bit of a feel around the carpet area and yes, it’s definitely wet, I called Roy to come and check it out. Initially I though I must have knocked over my water bottle and it had leaked a bit but no, that wasn’t the problem. Next idea was to lift up the bed and have a look under the bed as this is where our water tank is located. After moving stuff out of the way we found that the carpet in one corner was also wet, following it back we figured it was coming from the pump. It looked like the seals in the pump may have given up with a leak dripping from a joint in the main pump. Bugger.

To cut a long story short, we were heading the following day to go visit friends in Papamoa so a slight diversion into Tauranga was required. At the store (which shall remain nameless) we were ushered to the correct part of the store to look at options, we were being strongly persuaded to buy a particular brand, the cheapest one, which they told us were being put into new motorhomes and used as replacements and they sell heaps of them. However, not one to be swayed by an effusive salesmen’s patter, we said we would carefully look through the options on our own for a while. After a bit of googling we decided against their advice and go for a more expensive one, in fact the same brand as the one we were replacing.

the new pump installed.

Roy had the new pump installed and the tank refilled with water and tested in no time at all. There were hardly and ¥{§&< words spoken either during the installation, or not that I heard, as I removed myself from the van and earshot to the safety of the house 😂.

Well, what a revelation, the pump is so quiet that we cannot hear it at all when we run a tap. Our old pump must have been getting noisier and noisier but so gradual that over time we hadn’t noticed. And the pressure is better too so all in all a good fix especially before we go away knowing that we would not come back to a swimming pool!

Only 5 more sleeps and we are off, my next entry will probably be from Old Blighty. So cheerio old chaps!

PS. Oh and just in case you were wondering…..

I adjusted the sign 😂.

For Sale

May 8, 2019

I bet that headline got your attention! No, definitely not us but brother John has decided it’s time to sell his 10acre block of land which includes a large 4 bedroom home and numerous outbuildings, located just outside Whakatane near the Golf Course and Airport, it’s in an ideal location for those who like the idea of becoming a little more self sufficient plus live near the beach with the added advantage of being just 5-10mins from Whakatane township. Whakatane is famous for being the sunshine capital of NZ, ok Nelson also makes that claim, but it has a lovely temperate climate.

For John & Jude it’s time to travel a bit more and relax a bit rather than mowing lawns, feeding out to cattle, shifting fences and all the other things that go along with a lifestyle block. But let’s face it, you’re getting on a tad John 😘.

The driveway is lined with rows of fruit trees, citrus of all varieties plus avocados, olives and feijoas and many more. He has a very productive veg garden, a testament to the good soil, and he runs cattle on the land but it has also been used to grown corn. Successful duck shooting also takes place on the boundary, with chickens providing a good supply of eggs.

We came home to this sight the other day, someone’s idea of a joke…

No, the van is definitely NOT for sale, and nor is the platform ladder for that matter but some people thought this was funny 😬.

So if any of you know anyone who is looking for a good lifestyle block then give John a call on the number in the picture.


May 6, 2019

John & Jude have been the “lucky?” recipients of our company for the past week or two and whilst we have been in Whakatane we have had a couple of other family visitsas well.

Nephew Stuart, along with partner Emma and their three children Toby, Maggie and Mack arrived for an overnight stay and it was great to see them and catch up with all their news. They live in Dunedin so it’s not too often we get to see them.

The kids loved coming into the van and playing,

Mack driving us off into the sunset!

And of course we had to have a family portrait

They have changed a little in the 3 years since the last photo was taken

We managed to get them to stand in just about the same spot so we could compare the changes, my how the young ones sprout in such a short period of time.

Next we went up to Auckland for a few days for final rounds of appointments before we leave for the UK. But first it’s a visit to brother Steve and wife Leslie in Whangamata for a few days before we brave the big city lights.

Steve & Les retired to Whangamata last year and since then have undertaken major renovations to their home including picking up the entire building and moving it to a different position on the section. You would not recognise it now from its beginnings as an Initial home (one of the Lockwood homes). Ceilings have been removed to expose rafters, all the wood paneling has been painted out and decks, boardwalks, outdoor areas added to complete the transformation. Rooms have been redesigned and all new kitchen has been added. It really is like a new build and a fitting testament to the hard work they have put in.

Of course I neglected to take any pictures whilst we were there.

For us it was time to head on up to Auckland and to stay with son Antony for a few days whilst we had medical appointments to attend. We also managed to fit in a few visits to friends and family as well with a quick visit to son Simon who was home from work recovering from knee surgery. I had more xrays to see what was happening with my hip fracture and a visit to the surgeon, the upshot? Leave it alone and let it heal by itself and just cope with pain medication which suits me just fine. Apart from that, all is well with everything else, and it’s up to me to make the call when I want the other knee replacement done.

We went out for dinner one evening with friends Ron & Janet as well as Antony, this time I remembered to ask Antony to take a picture of us

I will spare you the selfie that Antony took of himself on my phone when I asked him to take this picture as it was less than flattering!!

And then it was back to Whakatane where my sister Sue joined us for a couple of days.

Sue & Jeffs camper parked up beside us.

We were comparing more genealogy notes and amongst some of the papers we discovered a picture of John and Sue taken just a couple of years ago, so we decided to take a picture of them with the picture.

no they haven’t changed much at all have they? And just love the haircut Sue!!

one half of the siblings, one could argue the good looking half!!!

Happy birthday & Easter

April 22, 2019

Another birthday rolls around, and as the number becomes larger we are forever grateful to know that the number is in fact increasing, much like the waistlines!

We left Matata DoC camp on Roy’s birthday, the Thursday before Easter and before Easter madness ensues with everyone out and about hoping to enjoy the last of the good weather. As well, this year the school holiday break is the week either side of Easter so it promised to be a busy old time, especially on the roads. We weren’t going far though, just a few kms down the road to John’s place just out of Whakatane. But first a slight detour to Edgecumbe to dump before we park up at John’s.

Here we are all parked up in relative peace and quiet on the driveway to the house surrounded by fields.

and as you can see, the weather is playing nicely too.

We celebrated Roy’s birthday with a nice rib eye steak for dinner with veg from the garden, all washed down with a Moët.

I really must teach you some decent plating skills John!!!


To finish off there was a Pedro Ximinez, a drink that we introduced to John & Jude some time ago, and one we all really enjoy. So much so that when we were in Spain just over a year ago we just had to make a special trip to Jerez and do a tasting or two.

this picture was taken in Jerez, at the Lustau Bodega where Roy and I enjoyed a very pleasant afternoon tasting 14 sherries, vermouth and Pedro. We came away feeling very happy I can assure you, just as well we were catching the train back to our accommodation in Seville.

A lovely end to another lovely day here in the very quiet surrounds of John’s 10 acre lifestyle block (more about the block in a later blog ).

Chum, the black lab, comes to visit us most mornings. As well as bringing a ball for us to throw he also bring us oranges from one of the many citrus trees lining the long driveway, he likes to eat them but can we peel it for him first…please?

Who could resist those big brown eyes??