Lovely Lane Blog

Welcome to our blog.  We want to help you make special memories for you, your family and your friends.  So we will share the ongoing adventure that is LOVELY LANE.  The memories, achievements, frustrations, traditions, chaos and hopefully some laughter and give you some memory making ideas and hints and tips along the way.

Enjoy ♥

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  1. The Barbeque strikes again! 

    Family Memory Making in it’s 20th year!   our family rocks barbeque memories lovely lane

    In the beginning………………..

    By accident we have created a family tradition packed with memories.  20 years ago we decided to have a barbeque to introduce people to our new house. We only had our youngest at home – she was 15 – my two eldest and 2 stepchildren were at university or working away and hubby has 5 brothers and sisters so it seemed a great way of getting everybody together. 

    That year 31 people stayed, sleeping end to end in any space they could.  We did the same again the following year (can’t remember why!) and the year after that.  By the 4th year everyone assumed that the first Saturday in August was spent in our garden, come rain or shine.  We put up a gazebo to shelter us from the rain or give us shade from the sun but the barbeque happens regardless!


    We are a large, assorted and blended family that has grown and changed over the years, with characters joining (including lots of grandchildren – mainly boys) and some leaving.  Great Nana Mags and Great Nana Jen always arrived from Scotland – my mum and ex mother in law.  They were friends and came on holiday together (always at barbeque time) – sadly Nana Jen comes on her own now.  We’ve seen different boyfriends and girlfriends come and go and acquired some lovely step-grandchildren too.  We’ve celebrated 18th birthday parties, 21st birthdays, 30th’s, 40th’s, 50th’s and 60th’s.  My daughter (after 12 years and 2 children with her partner) decided to get married with just us parents there.  It was the week before the barbeque so guess what that turned into – a surprise celebration (for the guests not the bride and groom!)  We invited a few more that year and it was a big event, but these days, even when we stick to immediate family, (as this year) we top 40.

    Family Feeling

    We will carry on with the barbeque.  Apart from my daughter who is close by, the rest are scattered around with middle son living in Ireland.  But this is the one time they all get together in one go and it is great to see the little cousins playing together, brothers and sisters chatting as if they only saw each other yesterday.  We’re a gregarious bunch, everyone’s had their ups and downs and done different things but there is no doubt that the family feeling is pretty strong – the eldest 20 year old grandson says he will never miss the barbeque ( and he hasn’t – yet!)  We have a video of him break dancing at the age of 5 – he won’t ever live that one down.  And we have ‘adopted’ one or two others along the way that will never be thought of as anything less than family.


    barbeque grumpz shedmemories lovely lane

    We have more memories than I can list here.  But we have plenty of photos (we take a group family photo every year) and many of the favourites are on the wall in the shed (large shed nicknamed Grumpz’s Shed (that’s hubby) – useful when it rains!).  It’s quite a gallery now and triggers some good memories and debate on who did what, where and when!

    With all it’s faults, quirks, achievements, laughs, joy and friendliness we seem to have created a family that, although separated by miles on a day to day basis, is close and enjoys each other’s company.  I like to think that a simple once a year barbeque has contributed to that – long may it continue………………………………

    symbol linda (2)


  2. What are your thoughts on Fathers Day?  I don’t need to do much these days – the kids have grown and hubby says its not down to me (he is not my father!) and my own Dad has not been with us for some years.  But I do have some opinions – or at least some thoughts to chew over. 

    fathers day 3

    The invention of Father’s Day

    Fathers Day is a relevantly new invention – a lady called Mrs Dodds of Spokane, Washington, USA campaigned for a Father’s Day to complement Mother’s Day.  Her mother had died in childbirth and her father was a single parent for 6 children.  She wanted to honour him and the good job he made of raising all those kids.  She succeeded and from 1910 Father’s Day was celebrated on the 3rd Sunday in June in the USA (and has ever since – although it wasn’t until Richard Nixon signed a congressional resolution in 1972 that it was officially recognised.  Mrs Dodds, thankfully, was still around to see that happen, although in her nineties.  The UK, as did other countries, followed on and it gathered pace until we reached the commercialisation we have today.  Here’s a few more facts for interest!

    Too commercial or what?

    Did I sound cynical about commercialisation?  I have no problem with the concept of gift buying and giving but I do like it to be in keeping (and within budget!) of what the giver is trying to say and the sentiment and memories they want to evoke.  I still have the small white vase with a blue flower on it that was my eldest son’s first effort at choosing, buying and wrapping all by himself – I think he was about 8 and only aspired to the pound shop in those days!  Later gifts may have increased in value but the most important thing is the memories they trigger – which is why I believe there should be no pressure to spend vast amounts of money – it’s the meaning behind a gift that is the most important.

    But let’s get back to this dedicated day for Dad’s

    There is a down side – some fathers may have limited or no access to their children, some may have lost children through illness, some children will have grown up and be getting on with their own lives without a backward glance (not necessarily deliberate!).  Those Dads may be looking round at happy families on Sunday with a bit of sadness.  For some children (and adults) it may bring back memories of fathers who were less than perfect or remind them of lovely Dads they are no longer able to chat to or tell how much they love them.

    But I say YES! to Father’s Days

    In the busy days we lead it is easy to take Dad’s for granted and not tell them or remind them what they mean to us.  So I would say YES! to Father’s Day and make sure you take time out to call, email, tweet, text or skype your Dad – lets face it there are lots of ways to communicate these days!  Even better call round and see him if you can.  So lets keep the sentiment that Mrs Dodds was promoting – we have some lovely Dads out there and they need to know it!  And don’t forget – you can always tell them more than once a year!

    Good Morning Britain are trying to get everyone involved in Father’s Day this week by asking for 3 words that describe your Dad.  Why don’t you join in – here’s mine! tesd4614

    My Dad – like most people’s – got some things wrong but most things right and he left me with some lovely memories.  The longest journey we had on our own was when he took me and my possessions to Plymouth (from Scotland) when I left home.  We had a great few days together and I only appreciate (now that I have made similar trips with my own children) how difficult saying goodbye must have been.  We don’t notice that in the excitement of new adventures!  However, if he was here today he would probably tell you a story about me from when I was 5.  He stopped the car so I could climb the fence into a field for a call of nature.  I took a while so he came looking for me and there I was making a daisy chain with no thought of getting back to the car any time soon.  He wasn’t too pleased but the story took a different tone after a while and was still being told when I was 40!  Memories are wonderful things!

    So what will we be doing this Father’s Day?

    grumpzOn Sunday, hubby will talk to all of our children – but we are lucky and probably talk to them most weekends anyway, even though they are scattered around a bit.  We will be having afternoon tea (a bit of a tradition in our family – we’ve logged a few happy memories with that one) with one daughter and two grandchildren.  The grandchildren will bring their own Dad along clutching the homemade cards and the useful (or not so useful!) gifts that have been made and chosen with loving care just to show how much they love their Dad.  And there might be a couple of things for Grandad too!


    Happy Fathers Day Everyone


  3. Hi All

    Life meeting reality (or is it reality meeting life!)

    What do you know about growing things? Do you want to know more?  The BBC think you do as we are now into week 4 of the The Big Allotment Challenge  And so another reality show has hit our screens and one which had the potential to be like watching paint dry but strangely isn’t!  At least Lynne Truss of the Telegraph agrees with me if no-one else!  Unlike the Great British Sewing Bee where contestants are given 5 hours to turn a piece of material into something lovely and wearable it has taken 15 weeks of digging and nurturing and pruning to have fresh produce that can be displayed or turned into family meals, jams and chutneys.  A bit of Jam and Jerusalem meeting Gardeners World!

    So what does all this do for us?  We gave up telling children long ago that babies were found under gooseberry bushes.  Now, from a very young age, they grow up knowing the basic facts of how their little brothers and sisters find their way into their lives.  But what about onions and potatoes and tomatoes – they come from supermarkets don’t they?

    Anything that encourages us to lift up a fork and trowel and grow something for tea (even if it is only some lettuce leaves!) is good.  My dad liked a nice bit of grass that he kept cut and manicured to within an inch of its life so it was my uncle who supplied the wonder of planting a very small seed that grew into a very large cucumber.  From about the age of 12 I picked raspberries and strawberries during the summer to earn some money (the advantage of living in a fruit growing region in Scotland) and come October it was the potato harvest.  So no reality shows for me - I grew up knowing that food didn’t magically appear in polystyrene trays wrapped in plastic.

    Mention the allotment to my grandchildren and they are interested – for about 5 minutes!  But that is long enough to plant a few sunflower seeds or pick a few strawberries for tea.  It doesn’t take a long time to create a few memories and introduce them to the wonders of gardening.  

    lovely lane - kelly 001

    This picture is of my daughter aged 9 with a cucumber that she grew from seed – she is 34 now with a 9 year old of her own and an allotment!  She had no interest at all during her teenage years but the seed had been planted at an early age – it just took a while to germinate!

    Alan Titchmarsh recently took umbrage with Jeremy Clarkson for suggesting that ‘gardening was a pointless way of passing time until you die’.  Well, not everyone is going to be turned on by growing a cabbage, but gardening is far from pointless (all the jars of jam and all those green beans in the freezer tell me that!).  So I find myself agreeing with the gardening guru and his assertion that there is something for everyone in gardening, whether you are a fanatic (my hubby is almost in that category!) or a casual gardener who grows the odd patio plant.

    However, I do feel strongly that we should all have the chance to have a go if we want to.  So we need to know what it is all about so that we can pick up gardening or put it down as our lives and inclinations allow.  Fruit, vegetables and flowers are a mainstay of our existence, give us lots of pleasure, nutrition and a sense of achievement when you say “I grew that!”.

    So the odd reality programme – I’ll live with it and probably love it - in an odd sort of way!

    symbol linda (2)

  4. Who taught you to knit? 

    For me it was my Great Granny. 

    Granny Gibb 2

    She was born in 1883, was 70 when I was born and died at the grand old age of 98.  She always looked the same to me – a very old lady with grey permed hair.  70 year olds don’t look like that these days!  When I was little I would visit her and sleep in the same big double bed and she would tell me wonderful stories of when she was a girl – oh how I wish I had listened a bit more closely!  Having such clear memories of someone who was born not just in the last century but the one before is great (even though it singles me out as being a bit ancient too!) and I can pass some of those stories on to my grandchildren.

    Two things came together to remind me of her today.  One is Mothering Sunday.  Granny Gibb was one of 13 children and was born in a mining village in Scotland.  She went into service at the age of 12 – not unusual then - working for a local Laird in the ‘Big’ house.  The tradition of Mothering Sunday has its roots in a time when domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother church, usually with their own mother and other family servants – it was often the only time that whole families could gather together.  For children and young people who were ‘in service’ it was a day when they could visit their families.  The children would pick wild flowers on the way to place in church or give to their mothers – this later evolved into the tradition of Mothering Sunday and giving gifts to mothers.

    Granny Gibb used to talk about this and going home with her sister Agnes (“oor Ag”) who was a year older.  If they were lucky they got a lift in a horse and cart or they had to walk the several miles to their Mother’s house.

    The other thing that reminded me of her today was the title of this article – Where is Granny when you need her? In the latest issue of Knitty.  Granny Gibb came to mind as she taught me to knit – I knitted a garter stitch scarf when I was 5 and progressed to a round cushion by the time I was 6 – all knitted from odd pieces of leftover wool.  Multi coloured garments were always fashionable when re-cycling was involved!  I then read the article and found out it was about crocheting – something I never quite mastered beyond straightforward squares!

    But what I did think is that skills that you learn when you are young never leave you.  At different times of my life I didn’t knit, either because I didn’t have time or because it wasn’t ‘cool’ but I could always do it and came back to it often.  It can give you many things, satisfaction from being creative, a sense of well-being (you lose a lot of problems when you are concentrating on an intricate piece of knitting!).  It can be very social (all those knitting circles!) and what’s better than making a baby shawl that turns into an heirloom.

    Knitting reminds me of Granny Gibb and isn’t it great that someone born in 1883 is still remembered so clearly and has created lovely memories that I talk about to my children and grandchildren.

    Click on the links to read more.

    Have a great day

    symbol linda (2)