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Whew! I finally got the new site design up. The photo albums don’t work just yet, but I’ll be fixing those soon (maybe). At least the main site is now a little easier to use for the people on older computers and small resolutions (I realized just how many people have those specifications, when I visited my dad’s family in England, and my mom’s family in Seattle). So hopefully this works a little better now. Please let me know if you’d want anything changed (I hope the fonts are big enough for you all to read, because they get really ugly if I make them any bigger).

Anyway, enjoy! 🙂

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Mum stayed with me for a few days on our return to England, it took us a while to get back into line time wise. On the Fri eve we went to see an outdoor production of “The Merchant of Venice” performed by Illium (I think) players at one of the local schools. It was really rather good, their were only 5or 6 players and they did a wonderful job. we took a picnic and chairs and had a good time. On Sat we drove Mum up to a services on the M6 by Birmingham where Dad was waiting to pick her up.

The garden was calling and, Oh Boy, did it need some weeding, we continue to enjoy its beauty and tranquility, one of the things I am really enjoying about England.

Gerard and Kay got in touch and asked us to go visit them in their rented flat in Shaldon, Devon. We went down the other w/e and had an excelent time, it is a lovely seaside village across the estuary from Teignmouth, they have a first floor flat above the Spar shop. It is an old converted house and all the floors are uneven but it has loads of atmosphere. Gerard is enjoying his job and goes on a course next week. Kay may stay with me while he is away. They have been looking for houses and will probably live somewhere more inland as the coast is way too expensive. They have been very lucky so far let us hope it continues.

Dave went to Taiwan last fri. and returns this Sat. early. He says it is very, very hot and they all want hime back on the job over there.

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Today I got back from the 2003 World Electronic Music Festival. Mike, his friend Ryan, and I had a great time partying there. It was in a place called Tweed, Ontario (near Belleville) at Trudeau’s Park. The venue was really crappy, and all the DJs played inside in this little cabin with no air conditioning, that couldn’t hold 1/4 of the people that were at the park. We had a good time seeing the DJs play that we were able to (mainly Fri. night and during the day on Sat.). We’re all very tired and sore from dancing though.

The music was totally fantabulous. I just want to search out all the playlists the DJs used so I can download all the music and listen to it again. Really great. Mike and I have decided we need to go to more parties, because it’s just too much fun.

Sat. night they played a video of WEMF 2001, and the message was very clear: don’t do drugs, but if you’re going to do them, only take a little bit. They had this one older guy talk for most of it, going on about the original rave scene and how drugs are such a “fad” thing now and that people under 20 should go easy on them and probably wait until they’re more comfortable with themselves.

It was a really good message, and at the end it had some quote saying something about you can only be an individual if you’re comfortable with yourself, and you’ll only find peace from within – drugs are a false peace (so many ravers are lost and believe that drugs are what raving is all about). We (Mike, Ryan, I and some other people on the stage who seemed like clear-minded people like us) all clapped and hollered when we saw that quote. Mike bought the VCD (it was $5), so when I see the quote again I’ll post it up here because it puts into words how I feel about the rave scene.

Anyway, must be off! Need to catch up on sleep if possible!

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Let’s roll this up now!

We slept in a little on our last Sat. in Port Orchard, then went into town where we browsed the market and shops, and later met Therese and Bernadette. Mum and I took off to get some photos developed and then ended up at the Cylkowski home. Andrew, Daryl and the girls came over for supper. It was Abigail’s birthday on the 4th July so we had a cake and some gifts for her. It was the last time we saw Andrew and his family.

On Sunday, Eric was returning to Chicago to start his new job on Mon. He lives and works in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He was starting as a restaurant manager. I picked up Therese and Bryan, and we went to mass at St. Gabrial’s in Port Orchard. Afterwards, we went to the fabric and bead shops in the local mall. Then we met Christine and had a late lunch/early supper, as Bernadette and Joseph had been taken out for dinner by some old friends. We met them on our return to the house – Cathy, whom I had met years ago when I was pregnant with Christina, and her husband too. Cathy came from Liverpool and moved to Chicago in the ’50s where she met her husband. We enjoyed the evening and then drove them back to our hotel, as they were staying there as well.

On Mon. Therese, Bryan, Andrew, Christine, Abigail, Hannah, Daryl and Charlotte went on a trail on Mount Rainier. I decided I wasn’t fit enough so went to Polsboro with Mum, B. and J. Polsboro is a cute Scandinavian town around the Sound. We had lunch there and went around the shops. In the evening we hung out with everyone and said our farewells.

Tues., Therese and Bryan left in the morning. Mum and I checked out of our hotel – it was a great place to stay, really good value and very comfortable. Then we did some last minute shopping and finally went to B. and J.’s to say our goodbyes. They dropped us off at a gas station so I could fill up the car. It was sad to say bye bye. I managed to get us to the airport ok and we got on the flight with no problems. This time we had to go in our proper seats, but there was extra leg room (thank heavens!), and we had our own TVs so we could watch whatever we wanted. I tried to sleep, but couldn’t. Dave picked us up when we got in and then we had a sleep after getting home.

A very good holiday. That is a wrap!

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On Friday the 4th July it was Bernadette and Joseph’s official 50th Wedding Anniversay. We rose early and made our way to their house where we picked up Christine and Brian on our way to the church in the town of Bremerton where B. and J. where having a blessing during the daily mass. It was lovely to witness and lots of friends where on hand to congratulate the happy pair.

While Bernadette and Joseph and Mum went for breakfast, Christine, Therese, Bryan, Eric and I went to get the ferry to seattle where we split up and Therese, Brian and I went around Pike’s Place Market while Christine and Eric went off to spend some time together.

We returned later in the afternoon and then the five of us went for a great Chinese buffett before we all met up in our hotel room which overlooked the Peugot Sound. A barge was situated there where they let off a fine display of fireworks later in the eve. It was a chance to relaxe and chat to each other, we sat on the balcony to watch the fireworks. After they where over we got B. and J. to tell us some stories of their long and eventfull life together with Christine and Therese chipping in now and then. Altogether a lovely day.

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Victoria, B.C.

What a beautiful city! We took the boat across from somewhere in Washington! It was about an hour and you dock right in downtown Victoria. Joseph and bernadette had booked us into a wonderful hotel, with views over the harbour, we had a suite as their were 7 of us. Bernadette, Joseph, Therse, Christine, Mum, me and Bryan. Eric had gone to Andrew’s and then they went hiking.

We looked around the town and then ended up at the Empress Hotel for afternoon tea, a spectacular meal, even better then you get in England!!! After a few hitches, we discovered we could be served tea in the Bengal room, a bar done out as though it was in old India under the British Raj, all dark wood and tiger skins. A really lovely setting, we all enjoyed the tea.

After that some went back to the room and some went shopping!!! Later we congragated on the balcony for some wine and talk while Mum and Berndette stayed talking in the living room, we where laughing at how alike their mannerisms are.

The next day we split up to go shopping and I found a wonderful fabric shop and market area, could have stayed longer. I felt compleatly at home in Victoria everyone was friendly. We returned home that evening, tired but happy.

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More about Seattle…… On the Mon we all went over to cousin Andrew’s house to visit with him, it is a great old house which he has done up really nicely, we just hung out with everyone. Charlotte, very kindly, took us around to her place which is a converted church, it is spectacular inside, with an open plan living kitchen area, an upstairs open loft, which is her room mates bedroom, underneath this is another bedroom and bath. Charlotte uses the living area as her photo studio for now, she takes some wonderful shots, especially of babies and toddlers.

On Tues., early, Christina had to leave. I took her to the airport bus because traffic would have been bad for me to drive her. It was sad to see her go.

We then went off to Mount St. Helens. That was Awesome! I was compleatly fascinated by the whole place. You can drive quite far up to it and on the way stop for information. I was surprised how interested I was in it. I remember it erupting in 1980, but not too much about it. They have left a large area around the volcano to repair itself and so far it is making good progress, lots of wild flowers, some little trees and lots of animals, including elk, which are just begining to return. A very full and interesting day.

The we went to Victoria, B.C. More later.

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To Continue……..

We had a wonderful welcome when we got to Bernadette and Joseph’s house in Port Orchard. My cousins were already there: Therese, Eric, Bryan and of course Christine.

Because they had such a house full, mum and I stayed in the town of Port Orchard at a Holiday Inn Express. This was a great experience, we had a view from the veranda of the mountains and Sound. It was delightful to start everyday with this vista. The staff were great and made our stay very pleasant.

The weather the whole time we were there was lovely, mostly warm and sunny with the odd hummid day and hardly any rain.

Christina should have arrived on the Fri. eve. but couldn’t get a seat on the plane. She was flying with Air Canada and right now we are not too happy with that airline because of the way things were handled. C. arrived instead on Sat. eve., really cutting short her stay. However I was able to go pick her up all on my own (thought I was very clever getting there and back with no mishaps, including not getting lost!!!). It was great to see her again and we had a great time with her for the few days she stayed.

The dinner celebration was on the Sunday afternoon at a private room in Red Lobster restaurant. Including the family, there were about 30 people to help celebrate. It was a lovely meal and some great gifts including a beautiful photo album Therese had made of their 50 years together. It certainly made Joseph and Christina cry, if no one else! I met Darel, Andrew’s 17 yr. old son, a lovely boy, and also Charlotte, Andrew’s girlfriend, who is also a professional photographer and a really nice person.

We then went back to B. and J.’s house where Charlotte helped us take photos in the delightful garden. Some lovely memories were made that day, and I know everyone there enjoyed themselves.

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Mum and I arrived back from Seattle on 9th July and it has taken me until now to get sorted out.

Mum and dad arrived on 23rd June because we wanted to have some time for mum to rest before the 9hr flight to Seattle. Dad brought her down and we went around the area on Tues. Dad went back on the 26th, the same day as mum and I flew to Seattle. We had to get a taxi to Heathrow as Dave was busy in meetings all day.

Our flight was great, we had World Traveller Plus seats which meant more leg room, and when we checked in we were upgraded to business class! This was brilliant as they have these bed seats on British Airways, so comfortable! Also had wonderful service and food. We were spoilt for the journey out there! It was doubly appreciated because I had an hour and a half drive once we hit Seattle.

After keeping mum’s visit secret for months, I inadvertantly let it slip when I phoned Bernadette from the Airport and promptly informed her “Mum is in the toilet”. “She is?” Was the incredulus reply. *&%#$”$**, I thought and said something like “Shit”. So the secret was out. Didn’t stop us having fun though. More on this later.

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The hot hot summer is rolling on here, and all without air conditioning! It is getting to the point here where we are considering investing in something called the portable AC unit – sounds interesting, though I don’t think it’s the personal, backpack type yet? Shouldn’t complain though, as this appears to be likely one of the sunniest summers on record (our last experience like that here was in 1976, but I understand we missed a few of these while we were in Canada).

The girls all had a great time in Seattle (Christina, Trish and her mum) visiting the relatives for the 50th wedding anniversary. I was busy while they were away with a few jobs around the house. We now have an 8 x x 10 deck off the back of the house – needed for the Cdn patio set – and the Chandelier from Canada is finally hung in the living room. I usually have to undo things that I do while Trish is away, but this time I managed to perform OK, I think. Except of course “. . . . is that all you did . . ?”

It’s nice to have people in the house again though, I must admit that I was almost starting to miss the mem’sahib.

Work has continued to be overwhelming, with all the turmoil at Network Rail. We are still hoping to retain some of our business with them, but there are no guarantees in the current climate on the railways here. Workwise things will ease up a bit for the next couple of months now as the summer period is starting here, and everyone gets lots of time off, this being Europe. Once the summer is over we have about 4 months of work left on the UK projects and then we will need the new orders that the sales people are desperately trying to find. Ah well, I still have my big Taiwan contract and we have a new order in Romania just kicked off to keep me occupied. If that doesn’t do it I will have to help the sales force out eh?

I haven’t made much progress with the inside of the house since the early spring. It is amazing how much time the garden consumes. It is nice to be outside though, and the garden itself still never ceases to amaze. We are continuing to find things out there that are new to us, and of course, adding to it in our own way. We have a fabulous crop of sweet peas at present; all that we grew ourselves from seed (proud gardener talking). I finally managed to get the Hammocks (bought in Mexico when on hols from Canada) hung. The only thing now is to find time to lay in them.

Gotta go now – just had a few minutes before I buzz off to the airport for a trip to Greece to see my team out there.