Ten Years – Who’da thunk it!

June 3rd 2000 and a gorgeous woman said “I do” and, in front of a large gathering of friends and families along with our Heavenly Father, we were married.

The last ten years haven’t all been smooth going, but no marriage ever is. There’s been rough patches, arguments, tears, hurt and more – but above all there’s been Love and the happiest days of my life.

She’s been there when I’ve struggled, stuck by me when I lost my faith, kept with me when my health was not good and loved me no matter what.

One thing we’ve not managed to do in that ten years, well not since our honeymoon,  has been to escape on our own for a romantic getaway and just be ourselves with no kids or time constraints. So I had to fix that 🙂

Cue a load of hushed messages, hidden agendas and huge amounts of googling – combined with a long drive! The end result was 5-ish days away from the kids, waking up and going to sleep with this view outside of our bedroom window

Kirkcudbright - Scotland

A four-star B&B in Kirkcudbright right in the south of Scotland (near Dumfries) was our home for the week where we were looked after by the wonderful Eileen Garroch (visit the B&B website here and if you pay her a visit say hi from us!) and made to feel like royalty.

The countryside was so beautiful, the food glorious, the weather wonderful and the company beyond comparison.

To summarise the week quickly: Fish & Chips, Castles, Hill walks, lighthouse, harbours, seafront restaurant, bagpipes, handmade chocolates, David Coulthard museum, ice cream, books, coffee, cakes, beaches, food and relaxation!

A better summary would be the photos below 🙂 More are available to friends on facebook!

And now for that summer break

And… relax!

So now the job situation has finally been sorted out, and with a gap before starting my new job, I have the chance to enjoy some of the summer holidays with my family. With money being a minor issue until the income comes rolling in we’ve had to plan breaks using our noggins and a bit of handy local knowledge.

The first thing is making the best use of the Tesco Clubcard vouchers – sure, you can use them to buy groceries but an even better way is to exchange them for 4 times their value in day out vouchers 🙂 Yeah, I know Tesco have started to offer “double up” in parts of their stores but FOUR TIMES the value is much better!

So, we will be enjoying the marvellous displays at the Duxford Imperial War museum… feasting and gorging on chocolate at Cadbury World (yeah, I know that gluttony is one of the 7 deadly sins but CHOCOLATE!!!! c’mon!) and then we will also be educating our minds by visiting the Magna Science centre at Rotherham (OK, so the Rotherham part is kinda a downer but the centre is meant to be unbelievable)

Not only that but we’ve also been collecting for the Walkers Day Out vouchers – meaning that one of our other days out will be to the Tram Village at Crich – sadly in De-De-De-Derbyshi-Derbyshire (sorry – I’ve got Nottingham blood in me so crossing the border into the D place is tantamount to voluntarily walking into the Siberian Gulag in deep winter for a prolongued break!). Despite the location it is meant to be an amazing place to visit and the kids should love it.

We’re also spending some time in Hotel-Family, aka my parents home, to allow us a base of operations and also a chance to chill, relax and catch up with the folks. To cap it all of (or rather – kick off the second half) we’ve got a gathering of a fair few of the Hartley contingent for a bit of food and a good old laugh so that will be an amazing time 😉

We usually go away every two years, but with things the way they are we knew this year wasn’t going to be possible – but in spite of that we are still going to manage to have a great time as a family… enjoying loads of interesting places, having fun and, most importantly, being together. We’ll get a holiday next year – already said that when the government finally coughs up the money it owes we will book a week away (probably south Wales) so that we are guaranteed the time together but I can also guarantee that we will definitely be saving up all those clubcard points, voucher and any other deals we can so that we can do more, for less 🙂

Life is… good


The sigh of a satisfied man.

The weekend has just finished and I’m now sat at work (that’s not the satisfying part) – but the weekend was a good one.
It was the first weekend for a while that we actually didn’t have anything particularly planned, and with the Grand Prix being early evening it meant we could do what we liked pretty much this weekend – allowing us to get some jobs done and feel like we’ve achieved something.

So the boys bedroom has now been moved around to try and make life easier, the tent on the kids climbing frame has been removed so the slide can be fitted properly and the shed now has (after 3 years) a nice new felt roof on it that looks pretty good (if I do say so myself)

To top it all off I even had a chance to catch up on some sleep on Saturday afternoon (much needed as I was so tired earlier in the week I had been fainting), started typing out some music for a new music folder I am trying to put together, and then we even managed to fit in a lovely picnic at Ferry Meadows after Church yesterday.

A lot achieved and yet it was really quite relaxing. Life is definitely… good! 🙂