News & Tips

Ann’s Natter

Phew!  Are you still there and feeling good?  I’ve been comparatively laid back this year regarding Christmas and all that comes with it.  Even the silly Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays went straight over my head.

4th December was my last tap dancing lesson for the year. As usual, our teacher produced a Christmas routine for us to learn.  All the routines are very complex so we only had an hour to pick this one up.  It was fun and we managed to sing along while learning the steps which included a chair, not only to sit on but to stand and tap with one foot on the chair too.  The music was Santa Baby and a fun time was had by all.  Little did I know what was to follow.

5th December was John Lewis Christmas Evening special for those with a loyalty card.  I went with my daughter and her friend.  Food and drinks tasting, along with live music made it a really good event.  The live music was a female singer in the furniture department.  As we got nearer, she announced that her next number would be that favourite –  yes, that’s right, Santa Baby.  What could I do?  I was caught up in the moment, found a chair and did as much of the routine as I could remember.  I can’t think why my daughter and her friend scuttled off to the lighting department!!!

I think we like tradition and it’s a kind of comfort to do the same thing every year.  On the 16th, my daughters came for the annual wrapping session. In exchange for coffee, mince pies and stollen, they wrapped all my presents.  Just a lovely happy day and such a relief not to have to wrestle with challenging wrapping paper and tape.  I’m very organized but I have to confess my focus on presents and entertaining was interrupted by an event which took place on the 19th.

I was 80 on 16th May 2017 and as a special, special gift, my son and his family bought me a Day as a Zookeeper at Chester Zoo.  I’ve a passion for all animals so I was overwhelmed.  The zoo only offers this on Wednesdays which is why booking is so far ahead.  Because there had been a major fire there the week before, we were worried that the day might be cancelled but all was well. On the down side, it’s 60 miles away but the day came.  I had to report there at 08.00, so we left my home at 05.30 which meant I had to set the alarm for 04.00.  Well, there was no way I was going to such a special day without full make up!!!  We arrived at 07.30. My son then had to drive back to Tamworth for meetings.  What a wonderful day that was.  I was with the carnivores, 5 different sections with 6 keepers – everything from jaguars, tigers and lions; feeding, cleaning, observing and checking.  I even got to ride in a golf trolley because the site is so huge.  I’d bought a decent pair of wellingtons and what a good job that was!! At 5.00 pm, there was my son, ready to go home.  We got back to my house just before 8.00pm.  You can imagine, it took me a couple of days to recover but I’d do it all again if I could.  I can still hear that lion roaring.  Perhaps for my 85th……..?  And what a hero my son is.  He did that journey 4 times – 240 miles, all in the dark and rain and tackled his meetings too!

Here’s me about to feed the lions!

The 27th saw my annual day to host a family and friends get together here.  I prepared the buffet on Boxing Day which I always enjoy.  It was pandemonium but everyone had a really good time and we spent most of the day laughing (and eating of course!!).

For January, instead of an Awareness Day, for a change I’m offering just some interesting facts about that month.


1st January 1927 – the BBC broadcast its first programmes

14th January 1986 – motorists were required by law to wear seat belts

28th January 1807 – Pall Mall, London, became the first street in the world to be lit by gas lights


I always use my spare room to store all the gifts and Christmas items.  It’s now looking very empty.  It’s a bit symbolic of that anti-climax feeling that some of us get after the festivities are over but as I wrote at the beginning: ‘Phew’.

Well, we’ve had the shortest day so that’s good news on which to end this Natter and the year.  Wishing you health and happiness in 2019 and always.


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