Spring has Sprung!

Hello! Sorry it’s been so long…!

Hope you’re well. Do write to us / email – we love to hear from people!!

Easter is soon upon us – how this year has flown by so far! We are looking forward to visiting a friend of ours in Israel next week, from Palm Sunday to Easter Monday. We picked a terrible time to go in terms of crowds and queues etc, and have been warned to keep away from the frantic pilgrims, especially the Christians who are the worst of the lot! We will be staying with her in Jerusalem, and of course taking the opportunity to see some of the sights, though the thing we’re most looking forward to is a good catchup with our friend there. We’ll be doing a lot of walking since the Arab public transport won’t be going that week. Two weeks ago we visited my grandparents in Darlington and we had chance to read through a diary that they wrote when they visited Israel – it was wonderful to see some of the things they got up to, look through the photos and giggle at their little comments. We hope to visit some of the same places that they went to on their coach tour ten years ago.

It was really lovely to visit the grandparents. I spent quite a lot of time with them when I was younger, and have many memories of being with them and staying in their beautiful house – it was great to go and stay there as an adult and to have chance to properly spend time with them rather than a flying visit. Hope to do so again some time in the near future. We also managed to drop in and briefly visit my parents on the way back, which was lovely!!

We went to visit my sister Marnie at Preston Uni three weeks ago, and it was fun meeting her tall Liverpudlian boyfriend Nathan (who, oddly enough, knows Ben’s best mate’s family from working in Liverpool Cathedral where Ben’s best mate’s dad is the Dean!), and her housemates (who made us feel old with all their noisy partying well into the night), and wandering around the city. Marnie and Nathan have taken up Bingo and go to a vast Bingo hall on Saturday nights, so of course we joined them! Very entertaining, and unlike anything we’ve done before.

Over the past month it seems we have done a lot of family visiting! Last weekend we visited Ben’s sister and her family in Oxford, and it was absolutely wonderful to see them. The highlight for me was being told (and seeing for myself!) that our 4-year-old niece really loved her birthday presents from us: the teddy we gave her has become the favourite teddy and is taken everywhere with her, even to bed – and the paints that we gave her have been put to good use. I really love birthdays and thinking through good presents for people, and had thought especially hard about her presents – so this really made my day. Her one-year-old brother is now very big and strong and walking almost completely unaided, which was lovely to see. The following day (Mothers’ Day) we were able to visit Ben’s parents and brothers in Wraysbury, which was lovely too – always really great to see them.

At the end of this month I have an art exhibition in Cinderford (on the edge of the Forest of Dean), which will be up for a month, so I’m quite excited about that! The launch night is on Friday 21st April in the evening, and then from the following Monday it will be open to the public during daytime hours (and some evenings) every weekday for a month. I’ve invited a few people to the launch night and hoping it will be a lovely evening and a fruitful month…! My first exhibition in a real art gallery – makes me feel almost like a ‘proper’ artist. Hoping it goes well and we can shift a few paintings!

Not much else to report, really! Both still enjoying work. Really enjoying the increasing hours of sunshine and the presence of lovely Spring flowers. Still being creative – making music, painting, jewellery making etc. Hope to book flights this weekend to go to the wedding of Ben’s best mate Tom who is getting married in New Mexico this Summer. Exciting!

Have a lovely April! Keep in touch!

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