Last week was a bit of a rollercoaster with an extreme low and some pretty great highs – saying goodbye never gets easier.
It started with a very early start on Monday morning as I was off to Manchester for the launch of the Making Smoking History campaign. It was a really interesting day and I got to see Andy Burnham in the flesh for the first time.
The rest of the working week continued to be busy with a long to-do list and lots of meetings to attend.
With it being half term most of my colleagues were off including my boss so I had to step up to the plate – not bad for 4 weeks into the new job!
Wednesday was of course Valentine’s Day – you can read all about how the hubby and I celebrated in my romancing the socks off Valentine’s Day post.
We had Steve’s sister; husband and our niece come to stay with us from Wednesday evening until Friday morning – a flying but lovely visit nonetheless – so we had to cram in as much as possible.
Once our mini Valentine’s Day celebrations were over we whizzed round the house straightening things up and swapping curtains around in the spare bedrooms to make things feel more cosy. I’m really happy with the way our main guestroom looks.
We had planned to get up early and spend the only full day we had together at Beamish open air museum (weather dependent) and then I received some awful news the previous weekend which meant a slight change of plans.
I’ve kept in touch with many of my former colleagues and had been exchanging emails back and forth with one; when she broke the terribly shocking and sad news that a former colleague and friend had lost his short battle with cancer.
I was absolutely stunned and heartbroken.
So on Thursday morning I left the house early dressed in black to attend the funeral. It was standing room only and the sun thankfully decided to shine. It was of course incredibly sad, 39 is certainly no age, but actually lovely to hear more about his life and learn new things about him. I managed to catch up with some of my lovely former colleagues afterward but had to dash home for a quick change and then the five of us were off to Beamish.
The sun thankfully kept his hat on and despite it being a chilly day we had a great time exploring just a little bit of what is on offer at Beamish. We went back in time to 1914 as we went down the mine with our hard hats on, we had traditional coal-fire cooked fish and chips, Amelia ice-skated for the very first time and we bought some tasty treats from the bakery and sweet shop in the Victorian town.
Steve and I visited Beamish in August last year (where the below pictures were taken) when his parents came to visit so our tickets are still valid until August this year; we’re hoping to visit a few more times to get the most out of it.
I felt out of sorts all day on Thursday – upset and sad that a life was cut short so suddenly but happy to spend time with family.
What a juxtaposition of a day.
So I decided that life is incredibly short and that I must make the most of time spent with family and friends, making memories and enjoying each other’s company because time is fleeting and precious.
On Thursday evening we had a gorgeous meal at our local Italian restaurant and thanks to lots of walking and fresh air at Beamish we all slept like logs!
I worked from home on Friday as we’d booked in a boiler service check when we first moved into our new house; so when we said our goodbyes that morning and Steve went off to work, our house suddenly felt very empty and I felt a little bit lost.
The engineer came and really lifted my spirits – a chatty and friendly bloke who gave our boiler a clean bill of health and cheered me up! Also, I’d never seen inside a boiler before and ours looks a bit like a kebab machine (the engineer pointed this out to me) – what do you think?
Once I’d switched off the work laptop I stripped the beds and tackled three loads of laundry – doing the tidying up after having visitors is the worst bit (apart from having to say goodbye of course) but I’m so pleased we have the space in our home to be able to have family stay with us.
I’m hoping normal service will resume this week but I will try not to take things for granted. I’ll hold hubby that little bit tighter when we cuddle up, I’ll tell my family I love them more often and I’ll do my best to make the most of my precious time.
You can also find me on Twitter @rachael_stray
Or follow my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/rachaelstrayblog/
You can see my random pictures on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/rachys2011/
And see what I’m pinning on Pinterest https://www.pinterest.co.uk/rachaelstray/