I am Nettle and I am:-

  • English, living in Canada.

  • Mid Fifties.

  • Married

  • Mother of two.

  • Favourite group: Backstreet Boys

  • Favourite singers: Keith Urban, Michael Buble.

  • Favourite musical: Chicago

  • Favourite TV Series: Stargate SG1, SGA and SGU

  • Currently reading: Nothing

  • Favourite computer game: The Settlers Online


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    Friday, June 28, 2019
    June 2019

    Once again, it has been some time since I last updated my blog. If anyone is till following me, I apologise for my tardiness, and please sya hello in the comments box, so I know if anyone is still ready. My daughter came back from Vancouver, she was going to be home for a year while she cleared debts etc. She bought herself a car, which we were going to use to drive her back to Vancouver with her stuff, but that trip has also been put on hold, probably for another year. I will be honest, I am quite happy to still have her home, despite the untidiness and she doesn't do anything around the house, she does pay her way. She does want to move on with her life though, and it is expected that she will. She wants a job in her chosen field, she would also like to find a partner in life who is open to moving away from here. She did just get promoted at work (finally), she is very happy about that. Meanwhile in my life.... the British fashion company I was working for last year, went out of business in the summer. I was very lucky to immediately get hired by Northern Reflections, a Canadian clothing company. I trained at their Devonshire Mall branch. It was much busier than I was used to, but it was good to be busy again, the people are great and the company is good to work for, they are positive and encouraging about reaching our sales goals. Earlier in the year I was helping out our other store at the other Mall, and they decided to transfer me there permanently which I was happy about. The store there is more spacious and bright, it is a bit quieter, but it has been a good way for me to learn everything at a slower pace, and I now feel very confident in my abilities. I open and close, I get full shifts about 3 times a week, sometimes more. Last year Brad and I went to England (Via Dublin) and I got to meet my granddaughter Aaliyah for the first time. They live in Derbyshire, which is beautiful... but very hilly. My son's girlfriend already had a son, who is a cutey, it was fun to play in the park with them. I also got to see Tyler again, obviously he didn't remember me, but his mother had told him about us, that I am his Granny and was happy to see us. On the weekend we were at the family's caravan on Mersea Island, and Tyler took me off to his room so he could "make me dinner" it was really cute! On a sad note, my first husband's grandmother, the only grandparent I have ever known, who we called Nan, died just over a month ago. She would have been 100 years old in September! I saw her last year when I visited, she was happy to see me, she liked my Canadian husband, I felt she had forgiven me for not working things out with her grandson. It was a good visit, and I am glad about that. She was a wonderful woman and I loved her. My daughter was going over to see Nan, but unfortunately Nan died before she got there. She was able to go to the funeral though, and though her I was able to contribute to some flowers and make a donation. It is a good thing that my daughter can now remember Nan as she was, before she got ill, and not have memories of the confused and frail woman she became in the nursing home. I am very thankful, that my first husband was with Nan when she died, no one should have to die alone, my sister and I were both there for our parents.... I hope one day, someone will do the same for me. Jon has now been in South Korea for a year, and he has decided to stay for another year! Brad misses him very much. With Melissa living in England, he speaks to them on the phone as often as they can arrange. We stayed with Melissa last year in London. They live in a nice area, their flat is very Victorian, which I liked, coving on the ceilings, small sitting area out the back. Nice shopping area and a park nearby for Oli. This summer Brad and I are going to Florida for 10 days, it is going to be hot, but we have to go during Jul or August cos Brad works at a school, but our accommodation has a pool so that should help.

    Posted at 12:48 pm by Nettle
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    Saturday, April 29, 2017
    Empty nest

    Today my daughter moved to Surrey, B.C. Initially for four months, she has two jobs, renting an apartment, and a few of friends are going to visit her while she is there. If while staying there, she decides to stay, she will come back, pick up the rest of her things and move back. There are opportunities in her field of work there. TV shows and movies are filmed in that area. She has skills like lighting and camera work. But Vancouver is a very expensive place to live so I'm not sure she could afford it. The last couple of days I have been dreading saying goodbye to her. We are very close, partly due to our stays in hospital together when she had her surgeries for her Perthes. We managed to say our goodbyes without breaking down in public. I know she is nervous now the time has come. Moving out and on her own. I also know that she would always leave home one day, but right now... my heart is breaking.

    Posted at 4:01 pm by Nettle
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    Tuesday, April 18, 2017
    I am going to be a Granny again

    My son and his girlfriend are expecting a daughter in August. I should be happier about it than I am, except, this is a new girlfriend, he broke up with the mother of his son last year, and now he has moved further north it has created problems for him to be able to see his son. I hardly see any pictures of my grandson now. I am obviously keeping the lines of communication open with his mother, I sent a nice outfit and I did ask for a picture of him in, but that still has not happened. :( My daughter moves to Vancouver next week, initially for four months to see how she likes it. She may decide to stay, if she can afford it (It is a very expensive city to live in) and if she can find a job in her chosen career. The film and TV industry is in that city, so there may be opportunities there. Brad and I had a lovely time in Las Vegas. The weather was HOT, hotter than it usually is at that time of year. I was great to see my friend Nancy again, the BSB concerts were wonderful. Brad and I went to The Mirage to see the Tigers, we spent several hours there. We also went to the Grand Canyon which was amazing. It was really nice to have a week away in the sunshine, it did us both good. :)

    Posted at 11:44 pm by Nettle
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    Monday, January 02, 2017
    New Year

    2016 was probably not what I was expecting it to be this time last year. I did not know I would be working for a different company, which has been the biggest change in my life most recently. Looking to 2017 and what it might bring.... Travel plans: Brad and I are going to Las Vegas in March. Backstreet Boys will be in residency there for a few months. My friends Nancy and Debbie will be there, we will see a couple of shows together, one of which will be on my birthday :) Brad and I will be doing some sightseeing, we are still deciding what we want to see. Probably The Grand Canyon. When I saw how close Los Angeles was I had wanted to go there, but apparently the traffic is so bad that we wouldn't get to see much. I had hoped to get over to England, I'm still not ruling it out, but I am thinking I should plan for 2018 instead. We are currently starting to plan a road trip in August to Nova Scotia. Brad hasn't been so it will be new to him too. I want to include Prince Edward Island :) Rachael is moving to Vancouver for the summer, to see if she can afford to live there, and to look for a job in her chosen field. Jon moves out later in the year, it's gonna be quiet around here!

    Posted at 12:27 pm by Nettle
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    Sunday, October 30, 2016
    Fall 2016

    As I said in my last post, I don't work for Penningtons any more. My manager treated me very badly to the point that I had to resign. I was sad to leave that company and felt nervous about finding a new job, but within two weeks I employed again! I now work for a British company, which is a little ironic, but the quality of the clothing is so much better, and I have a lovely manager. The company is called Jacques Vert, we also sell Precis and Windsmoor. We are a small staff of 6, mostly work on our own, I am enjoying it very much. It is less stressful, less pressure. It is all about quality and not quantity. I am continuing to improve my eating habits. I don't eat crisps (chips) very often now, and only have Coca Cola about once a week. I am now under 200 lbs. I have to admit I didn't keep up with the walking.... once the weather got hot I just couldn't be out in it. I had some health issues this year, I kept getting infections and I had to have antibiotics, I don't know why it was happening but I hope it is sorted now. That's about it for this update...

    Posted at 12:54 am by Nettle
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    Wednesday, May 25, 2016
    Note for myself.

    I have started walking in the evenings, I want to get fitter. I weigh 205 lbs. I am trying not to snack, or at least avoid crisps. I am changing from my usual Iced Capp and getting it made with chocolate milk instead, which save almost 500 calories! I now work for a different clothing company and it is not plus size so not much fits me. I have a generous clothing allowance and I would like to fit in more of their clothes. But most importantly, I need to get fitter.

    Posted at 11:32 pm by Nettle
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    Eurostar is a lovely way to travel, it is comfortable and fast, I dozed off, I didn't even notice when we went through the actual tunnel. We had a hotel near the airport but had a spare day, so we went to Brighton. Unfortunately it rained all day, we went on the pier and had a photo taken in a studio as pirates, which was fun. We had a lovely fish and chips dinner, and went to Brighton Pavilions, thankfully it was not raining at that point. Next day we flew to Jersey. We had an early flight and got a taxi straight to the War Tunnels. Embarrassingly I nearly got in the drivers seat by mistake. I failed to realise that the War Tunnels wouldn't open that early, but we sat in the grounds and looked at some memorials to those who lost their lives as the tunnels were dug. We had a good visit there, Brad enjoyed it. I always feel a little emotional as my mum lived through the German Occupation and I was brought up on her stories. We got a bus into St Helier, I tried to call a family friend to meet up but he had other visitors and we only has a couple of days, he was going to squeeze in a quick visit the next day. We booked into our guest house and in the evening we walked back into St Helier via a pub that used to be run by my great grandparents, then onto another pub and had a lovely meal. Next morning we had breakfast and after we had a knock on the door an Guy had come to see us and arrange to meet up later, after we had gone to Gorey Castle. We took a bus to the castle. I love Gorey. The medieval castle towers over the harbour, it is the most impressive castle and my favourite. We had a great time walking round it. The weather was fantastic. Guy met us and took us to St Catherines where we ate at a tea room, I asked if he would take me to my mothers grave on the way back. He took us passed the farm where I spent many happy childhood holidays, it does not belong to their family anymore and the new owners have not been able to do any work on it, so some of the outbuildings are falling down, it was sad to see. I found my mums grave with no trouble. She is in the same grave yard as Lily Langtry. I left a Canadian quarter on the grave, not sure why, I guess to show I was there. We had a one day rover ticket for the bus so we went out later, hoping to go to Corbier Lighthouse but only made it to St Aubin where we had a nice meal and got the bus back. Next day we flew back to England and got a train to Cardiff. Our hotel was basic and we had furry fabric curtains! We went to Cardiff Castle and did some shopping in the city. Next we got the train back to our home town. I picked up a hire car and drove us to the house week would live in for the next week. It was out in the country with lovely views. Brad was impressed with my driving, mainly cos the roads are so small compared to Canada. I drove because I am the only one who can drive stick shift lol. (I hardly ever drive in Canada). Rachael went and stayed with a friend for a couple of days. We got some food shopping, and on Sunday morning we got up and went to church in Witham where I used to attend. I saw an old friend there. She looked good, but you notice the years that have passed when you don't see people every day. We walked into town after and had a lovely roast dinner at the White Hart Hotel in Witham. I can't remember the exact details of the rest of the week, but I went and met my grandson for the first time. He is adorable (obviously) it was the first time I had met his mother too and she is very nice, I think she is good for my son. Other days we went to Walton on the Naze. Visited my Uncle Sid and Aunty Pearl. (Uncle Sid has sadly passed away since then). We went to Maldon and took a walk along the river estuary. We went to Colchester and went to the Castle. We went out for dinner with Richard and his girlfriends family. We also had a lovely meal round my sister's house, and she met Brad and Jon for the first time. Her son was home from the RAF, everyone got along well which was really good to see. The week was very busy. We returned the hire car and got a train to London and spent a few days in a rented flat in Wembley. We did all the sightseeing stuff. and Brad and I saw a show The 39 Steps using only 3 actors, it was very good. We went to a few new places, parks and a cemetery, and we went to the Harry Potter studio tour. Plus the Tower of London etc. Finally is was time to go home. Four hours out of London and someone blocked one of the toilets with a diaper and we had to turn back! Some time later we set off again, but of course we missed our connection in Toronto, but when we got there we were allocated hotels rooms for the night and new tickets for the next day, although mine was a standby ticket which was a bit scary, as I was the only one who had work to go to. Luckily I got a seat and we all got home safely a day late.

    Posted at 10:24 pm by Nettle
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    Friday, April 08, 2016
    Spring 2016

    I just read my last blog and realise I need to update after a major change. Before I get to that, our Europe holiday last year was memorable, if tiring! Dieppe was a lovely little town, our apartment was lovely, and close to the beach where Brads father had landed in the war. We found a nice little place to have coffee in the mornings. We explored the town, didn't have any problems with the language, I think a lot of people spoke English because of the Canadian connection. We hope to go back. Paris: Weather was gorgeous. Apartment was one room, only a microwave to cook with. We went to the Catacombs on the first full day, had to queue for hours (at least I got a bit of a tan) many many steps down, but didn't feel claustrophobic down there, the worst part was climbing back out. It was a narrow spiral staircase that seemed to go on for ever. Our kids were ahead of us and were able to let me know when they got to the top cos I was on the verge of a panic attack! I had never felt like that before. It felt like I would never get out. I had people behind me, so I had to keep going, I have never been so happy to get out, I was quite shaky! Then we walked to Notre Dame Cathedral. Soon after we got inside they started Mass, so Brad and I sat down and the kids went off on their own. They text to say they wanted to climb up to the roof, I'd had enough of stairs for one day, Brad and I went to a lovely cafe next door and had coffee and French Macaroons, this was one of my best memories of the trip, so simple but lovely. Then on to the Eiffel Tower, there was going to be a concert there and they were setting up for that, so it wasn't easy to get a good spot for photos. We walk in the other direction, took photos and had a bite to eat while we waited for it to get dark so we could see the tower lit up. Every hour the lights sparkled for a while, it was very pretty. We took the Metro back with a quick stop at the Arc de Triomphe and the Moulin Rouge. Next day we only had the morning and I was determined to go to Sacre Couer. We had a bit of trouble finding it, the guide book told us the nearest Metro but didn't know we were approaching from behind it... many steps, many hills, I thought we would run out of time, and suddenly we were there, it brought tears to my eyes, I was so happy. It is beautiful inside, a huge gold mosaic of Jesus inside the dome. I will always remember the first time I saw it, it was as beautiful as I remembered it. We went back and checked out of our appartment, had a drink at a nearby bar. The kids wanted to so see the Louvre, I would have liked to see the glass Pyramid outside it, but I didn't have the energy to drag our cases all over the city, so we let them go and we sat a while longer then made our way by taxi to the train station. A bit of a worrying time waiting for them to get back, then we took the Eurostar train to England. :) It's getting late, I will continue this another time.....

    Posted at 2:42 am by Nettle
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    Wednesday, May 27, 2015
    Early Summer 2015

    At work I am now a Keyholder, I am able to open and close the store myself. I was nervous when I put myself forward, but I have been doing this for several months now and I am confident. Another person was promoted to keyholder before me, which I have to admit I was a bit annoyed about as I had seniority,then they decided to make me a second keyholder, but in the end she got demoted. Personally I didn't feel she was doing a good job, particularly counting the money, and the girls found her too bossy, but what put the final nail in her coffin was upsetting a customer who then complained to head office. Our manager had no choice, she had already been written up, and head office wanted action taken. Currently I am getting a LOT of hours, as one of our assistant managers is helping at another store. So I am rather tired, but on the other hand the money is good and we have a big trip to Europe coming up. My husband's long held dream of going to Dieppe is finally coming true. In July we fly to Paris, go to Dieppe, via a short stop in Rouen, we have 2 days in Dieppe, then back to Paris, a couple of days there, then get the Eurostar to London. We have 2 days in Jersey (Channel Islands) 2 days in Cardiff then we go back to the area we used to live for a week. We have a little house near Chelmsford, I will hire a car and I can show my husband and his son around. I will be driving, Brad is looking forward to that as he does all the driving here. On the Sunday, I am going to take him to my old church, and then we can take a walk round my old neighbourhood. I will also meet my first grandchild for the first time. He isn't actually born yet, but is due any day now! I wonder how I will feel. I remember my mum saying that she didn't know how she would feel when my daughter (her first grandchild) was born, but she felt like she was hers. Not exactly what I wanted to hear at the time, (she always had to take away from me anything that I felt I had achieved or done well). I wonder what she would make of my life now..... Finally we have four days in London, for some sightseeing before we return home. We are all very excited :) Last August our basement flooded, luckily we had good insurance, and it has now been completely redone, new floors, all new paintwork, we got rid of the kitchen and this is now my office area. SO much more room, it is lovely :)

    Posted at 12:02 am by Nettle
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    Wednesday, April 02, 2014
    It's been a loooong winter

    So here we are, almost spring (thank goodness) it has been a long cold and snowy winter, but finally it has all melted, technically it could still snow, but it has been above freezing these last few days and it feels like spring is nearly here.

    Since my last blog (September!!!!) My son settled into his flat (apartment) to begin with he was happy to be away from Diane and her nagging. He has been very careful with his money, didn't sign up for TV straightaway, but now he has it and a home phone, which is good cos I can use a phone card to call his home phone (a mobile phone costs more to call from here to England). I had a loooong chat with him at Christmas, as he was sick. He had had the flu and he was starting to feel better but his dad would not let him spend Christmas with them. So he was alone and lonely. We talked for three hours, which is amazing as he is not easy to talk to on the phone, but I think he had been stuck at home so long he just needed to talk. I asked him about moving here (or not) and he said that he and a friend were hoping to share a bigger flat after his lease is up, so they can share the bills etc. He didn't want to hurt my feelings,(not moving here) I told him, all I want is for him to be happy.

    So, my daughter started to plan a trip to England in May, cos McFly and Busted are joining together to tour. They will be known as McBusted.

    Brad asked if I would be going and initially, I was not planning to. Then he reminded me that with the money Rachael owes me, it would pay for my flight.... so I started to think about it.

    I reconnected with an old pen-pal, Julie, from Indianapolis. She came to see me late last year, and when she heard about the trip she said she would love to go with me. Rachael is going for three weeks, so I asked my boss if that was a problem, and she said it wasn't. So now I am going to England in May, and Julie will be joining us for the last 10 days. I will be going to Cardiff, then staying with an old school friend in my home town, time to just mooch around familiar places and see my sister. Then a week in London with Rachael, then Julie arrives and we all move on to the seaside for a week. I am looking forward to it :)

    In other news, I have been tracing my family history. I already had a fair amount of information on my mother's side, but I wanted to learn m ore about my dad's family, and I thought it was going to be almost impossible, since his surname was Smith! But, with some digging I found out his mother's maiden name and I found her family on a census, and with further searching and the website I am using linking me to other family trees, I have actually be quite successful and have made contact with distant relations! It is all quite exciting. Maybe I will get the chance to go visit some of the villages where dad's family come from, while I am in England.

    I looked into applying for Canadian citizenship. I have been able to apply for over a year, but cannot apply myself to study for the citizenship test, so I looked into classes. They told me that currently the application process is taking TWO YEARS! Also the price has just gone up :( They helped me fill in the application form. I have to prove I can speak English. Either by proving my education or taking a test costing $300. All I have are my exam certificates, so they copied them for me. Also, if I have a child who was under 18 in the last 4 years I have to show their education records up to the age of 18. (Richard is 20, he failed 6th form, I don't even know if there is anything to prove he went). SO.... my residency will have to be renewed next year, whether or not I apply for citizenship. If I wait until I am 55 years old, I won't have to take the citizenship exam or prove I can speak English. So I have decided to wait until then.

    Posted at 11:42 am by Nettle
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