Sunday 26th June 2022

Scenes From Where We Live (For Now). #LifesStories. 37/2022.

Scenes From Where We Live (For Now). #LifesStories. 37/2022.

I do enjoy sharing stories with images, and this post for the second last #lifesstories link up is just that!

Those who have read the blog for some years will know that we both decided, after selling our Sydney house, and having SOME money left, to buy new cars, and rent a place on New South Wales Central Coast while we consider life ahead and where we might live….

Oh how we think we are in charge of our lives but there are many forces at play aren’t there?

As it turned out, not quite the end game we imagined.

Not in our wildest dreams…OK, maybe an exaggeration but let’s say if we had “expected the unexpected” then maybe there would have been some more to consider. But nope, here’s a bit about where we live now…and some of the story. In photos. Mostly.

BUT before I start, this IS the second last link up here on a Monday. More info here, and for Monday 20 June, the last of the #LifesStories I hope you will join me in a bit of a sentimental journey that I have called Endings and Beginnings.

What we left and where we moved to settle (we thought) 

The reasons for moving house included:

  • I could no longer work. I was 65 and again, heading towards an emotional overload if I did not stop work. That was a big reason.
  • My husband had decided that Sydney was too busy with traffic and that it was time to live in quieter areas, which we then thought would be the southern end of Central Coast of NSW.
  • We needed to use the money from the sale, to pay off the mortgage, and have enough left for us to get two new vehicles (very important for the driving up and down the M1 as it would turn out in 2017…) and have a solid amount behind us to supplement our now part aged pensions and my husband’s super.
  • The extended family dynamics were changing and we had been told there was no need for “grandchild care” in 2015…and to be honest, it was somewhat of a relief, even though we knew a new (8th) grandchild was coming….

And we moved here: a decision made quickly, and with hindsight far toooo quickly. But I will say, it was also because we had a certain time to be out of our house and “I” needed to know where we were living next.

The House That Was a Mistake…And Expensive to Rent (even then).

What We Did Next. Sigh! 

My health suffered as I did what I could to try to transition to my ‘new life’.

My husband was actually very busy and loving what he was doing. Studying for his counselling degree, volunteering at lifeline and doing renovations at his brother’s house.

I did go back to Sydney quite a bit initially but no longer living there proved both sad and strange but we had made this choice, so “on with it’.

Except it was no easy with me getting more IBS, and the house being very uncomfortable so, a decision was made once we saw a single level house at the northern end of the coast for about $200 LESS per week, and we moved. Still had to keep paying rent on the old place as well until lease ran out.

Happ(ier) Life, Happ(ier) Wife?

We were both pleased with the new-to-us place, which was a similar vintage to one we had sold in Sydney. It was in Gorokan. And I admit there were a lot more places to explore for some time in late 2015 and into 2016.

We even celebrated our 45th Wedding Anniversary with our kids and their kids not knowing that life, as an extended  family, was going to change for some of the members and that it would not be great. It’s all settled to a certain degree but massive changes are hard on all.

In fact, 2016 into 2017 was a time of distress for me. B was still doing some of his study and had a counselling role with Lifeline, and did occasional work at his brother’s down south.

Unfortunately my health changed for the worst and cancer was diagnosed. There is all about that here.

The Central Coast And Scenes of Beauty Which Abound. 

I’ve been so fortunate in the past 7+ years to have places of natural beauty to visit, become part of, and enjoy in all the various weather conditions.

Nature is indeed healing and for me emotionally and physically it’s played a big role in distracting me from what my current health status was, and in healing.

I now seek refuge in nature to explore feelings which include appreciation for all that is good too.

So, a range of images from both the south and northern ends of the N.S.W. Central Coast and beyond. In all seasons!

So much has changed in the recent years for so many of us.

The escalating house prices meant that even ‘future us’ could no longer afford to even consider buying. What changes there have been in real estate. This year, our rent for this modern 4 bedroom home has risen $90 a week. And whilst we accept we are fortunate to be living in a comfortable house, other matters have made us consider:

  • Is this where we want to live our ‘older years’ lives? Not sure, specifically, but it is highly unlikely it will be continuing here.

 

  • Has our time here on the Central Coast been valuable to us both of the years? Yes. In some ways.

 

  • In our future years, will we be better moving closer to our extended family for some support. From us and for us, maybe?

 

  • The isolation of us from those we love most has been exaggerated by the two+ years of Covid and the resultant lockdowns and lack of ability to travel to and from family in Sydney. For example, my elderly Dad is on the Northern Beaches, and our adult kids are in places spread far apart but in a general area called ‘nor west Sydney’ and ‘the hills’.

 

  • As grandkids grew and their weekends became filled with sport and parental visits and more it was clear we would not be seeing them drive the almost 2 hours to and from our place to visit . We had hopes for most school holidays to have one visit but it was not always possible.

 

  • Seeing my elderly father in his independent unit and calling on his family only as needed made me think about our needs. This may not be a need for us for some time but up where we live, we have each other and that is it.

 

  • One catalyst for change and thinking our future health needs though was when our GP of over 5 years announced he was moving away and to an area at least 30 minutes drive away. This made us think carefully about our current health needs being met with a new group of G.P.s or what did we need to do?

 

So, how about popping back in two weeks to find out what we are now planning to do!!

Thank you for joining in this second last of the LifesStories link up too.

See you on 20 June.

Maybe add an old post if you choose, it’s going to be fun send off…except I cannot promise anything other than virtual fireworks…etc!!

Denyse.

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Denyse Whelan.

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Dear 2015 & Beyond D….Love From 2022 Me. 36/2022.

Dear 2015 & beyond D….Love From 2022 Me. 36/2022.

 

Blogging has given me the chance to share some of my life’s story to date in the form of Telling My Story (my memoir, found here) and Head and Neck Cancer ( my story, found here) and as my link up called Life’s Stories draws to a close, I thought I would give myself a timely reminder of

all

that

I

have

learned

since

2015

about

me….

and life!

Dear D,

2015

You did it. You made the physical move from Sydney to the Coast, as planned after selling the Sydney house.

It would feel ok but also very strange at times.

One such time, was on the day of moving when you realised as you crossed the Hawkesbury River, that you were headed NORTH to home, not back home to Sydney in the south.

You made use of the new area for take photos, find beaches and return to Sydney as “grandma” when you were asked for school assemblies, care and on one very special occasion, meet the youngest granddaughter on her birthday.

You were torn inside a lot, in fact it played havoc with your gut so that you had many I.B.S. incidents which did not help your confidence at all. In fact, the stress grew in you so much, you stopped a lot of what you thought you could continue. You let go of any remnants of your last work life. That in itself brought more grief.

You did make one promise to yourself and kept it. You would blog daily no matter what and that continued for the next 2 years or more.

Life was full of very mixed emotions. And sadly, you did not accept them well, because to be honest, it would not be till 2016 that a psychologist would help you understand that feelings take a lot longer to catch up to actions.

Doing my best to ‘look’ OK but feeling anxious

2016

You loved your blog and it did give you a feeling of connectedness when there was no-one you knew in your new area. That was true. The blog got revamped thanks to Tanya & by September you had your link up called Life This Week start every Monday!

Your body was changing. From the very overweight one to a trimming down one but that was coming from the stress and concern about your anxiety AND I.B.S. As someone who FEELS so much, it was also very hard to absorb family issues and many challenges where you could do NOTHING about them.

You didn’t mind that you were no longer so overweight but you also did not feel well and that took any shine off  ‘wanting to look good’.

Despite learning so much through reading, meditating, art, getting into nature, you were still stuck somewhat and unsure of what it was about.

Your mouth’s soreness increased and you would need to find a decent dentist, after the last one in 2015 was like the others, telling you that not cleaning properly was part of the problem. Dear Reader: it WAS NOT. See 2017.

To Terrigal to see A.N.Z.A.C. display

2017.

Again issues within the family that you could do nothing about were very hard on your emotional health. Very.

It was getting worse for you. I know. Nothing seemed to get better, in fact despite all the medical and psychological help, and a kind listener in B, things went downhill stress wise…until

You could stand it no longer, and it was TIME for that mouth and its issues to be examined and in April that year you were so brave, using all your exposure therapy learning. You had the upper teeth and bridge removed. And then waited for healing of the gums that did not come.

And when you got the diagnosis of a cancer in your gums and lip, you were able to deal with SO much….despite the fear…and get on with things!

Family began to reconnect and it was likely that your cancer diagnosis helped with that and slowly, as with your recovery in the rest of 2017, things settled.

Your very much slimmed down body (hello, IBS and then oral cancer) became a great distraction and you re-discovered a love of clothes, colour and having photos of yourself taken that had probably last been seen in your 20s!

The blog continued but you stopped the daily posts as that was no longer practical. However your link up flourished and you found new bloggers and communities there too.

First haircut in 8 weeks and wearing a bright new colour

2018.

Having moved twice in the 3 years, you were very pleased to find a modern house and make that rental place for home…for then and now (2022) as it happens.

Your mouth needed two more surgeries and LOTS of patience (which you found mostly via gratitude) to wait for “teeth” for 14 months.

But your love of a coffee each day and somewhere to go and sit, after a photo of the day helped pass that time. You found solace in art and creativity.

Meanwhile, family life  back in Sydney kept on going of course, but the longer we had been away, we all found it somewhat easier to be feeling settled here.

You got disappointed from time to time that family did not visit but with heavy workloads and other commitments that was hard for them.

So, you accepted much of that, and turned your attention on your Dad, as he aged, visiting him more frequently, AND forming a more relaxed and adult relationship with him.

Your head and neck cancer story was shared with some places on line and you were invited to become an Ambassador for a head and neck charity.

You reached out to friends who might meet you for a coffee and your time on the coast was more relaxed.

Social media was a good friend (still is) as is the blogging community which would sustain you for years to come. And you shared stories on others’ blogs too.

And via a social media conversation, you ended up getting the farewell from NSW Dept of Education you should have had back in 2003.

You and B hosted family Christmas — first time since we lived in Sydney.

21 August: from no smile to smile.

2019.

You dealt with quite a few health challenges in 2019 but not yours. So, you were able to be more helpful and understanding of your dear husband on a couple of occasions.

You became far too concerned about the weight (healthy!) increase…vanity, thy name is Denyse!!

You have, by 2022 improved big time. ‘Nuff said!

We both turned 70.

You wanted, and got a wonderful celebration and are very grateful to have had those memories.

We planned to see our family in Sydney at Christmas but had to go solo as B was not well. Fortunately his health improved.

Late 2019: Ambassador.

2020.

None of us knew, of course what lay ahead in early 2020 when we got news of a ‘China’ virus.

You needed an eye check and had to get it in Sydney, where you saw your family for lunch at the shops you used to frequent when living in Sydney. Weird wasn’t it, to find your way around again!

Needing cataract surgery, that would come in March, over 3 days, just as Covid dramas and restrictions began.

But before that you appeared in a video for head and neck cancer…and you were the guest speaker at a fund raiser.

You would not have guessed about these back in 2015 would you!!

Covid did change so much, and you know that.

You and B got the vaccine. And fingers crossed now, so far have its eluded you.

You did need more surgery, one you had put off for ages but once it was done…and it worked, YOU were pleased, right?

Yes.

The rules and routines around covid were OK (ish) and you and B were your sensible selves.

Blogging was changing but you continued and did your best to showcase the various series including Women of Courage.

You decided if you couldn’t see the grandkids, you could send them little boxes of fun and treats.

Christmas? Just us, at home, after Sydney had quite a large covid outbreak.

Beach walks sustain me

2021.

More of what was almost familiar happened. But in-person anything was missed by you if it involved family.

You were OK about Covid but sometimes the social media about was very vocal and you needed to come away from it for a while.

You blogged. But your enthusiasm was waning but you did not want to stop either.

Your blogging communities were changing for sure. But you were (and are) a loyal blogger and supported others’ link ups too when you could.

In between Covid restrictions, you drove to the beach (to see the sea) and did not miss the city at all but you missed family.

You shared special birthdays via Zoom, sadly not a great compensation at all.

You cooked and sent treats to your 50 year old daughter. They were MUCH appreciated. She was teaching remotely, overseeing a grade and helping her youngest through on-line teaching.

You slowed down. You might not have realised you needed to but by the end of the year, your I.B.S. (or something like it) returned and it appeared, Dear D, that you were OVER doing things.

So, you slowed right down and took the change into early 2022 to review how you wanted your 72 year old life to be like in retirement.

My word for 2021….

2022.

You had a quiet January and reflected on a LOT.

You actually enjoyed the slower pace and your physical health improved too.

You learned to please yourself before anyone else.

Who knew?

You listened to your heart more than your head.

In fact, a ‘gut feeling’ really is true, you found!

Blogging lost some of its appeal for you. You felt like you had written and shared all you wanted to…but yet,

You would eventually close down the link up that lasted almost 6 years but you are keeping the blog open for reasons like NOW…when YOU have something to share!!

(NB: 2nd last link up Mon 6 June, and last one, 20 June. See you there?)

And on June 2022 you went to your fave place to give thanks for all your life’s changes that have helped heal you.

It was cold but hey, smile was there, as you were wrapped up in your new warm jacket.

So, continue to go well…

Lots of love,

Me.

P.S. Have you ever written a letter to yourself?

 

Joining in with Natalie for Weekend Coffee Share later this week.

Thank you Natalie.

https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

 

 

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What Am I Reading/Listening To For ‘What’s On My Bookshelf’ May 2022? 33/2022.

What Am I Reading/Listening To For ‘What’s On My Bookshelf’ May 2022? 33/2022

 “What’s On Your Bookshelf?”

Thanks to Jo, Deb, Sue and Donna who host this.

What Am I Reading/Listening To Lately?

Quite a mix but then again on careful analysis, the topics and themes of my reading/listening are quite similar.

I am curious about life and its many challenges, how we age and human behaviour generally, so this is my update.

And this time round, I have included links to podcasts that are related to the books as they have been an integral part of my experience.

My reading/listening habits:

  • every day some listening is in the car thanks to Audible and any CDs I have for a book
  • every day, usually in the time between evening meal and doing to bed, I put on a podcast as I create something art-wise
  • every night, at the end of my TV/Netflix/DVD viewing or social media, I take a page or three and read it from one the books here beside my bed.
  • Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron is SUCH a challenge but I am really softening in my acceptance and understanding. With 108 (same numbers as on a counting necklace or string in some buddhist traditions) there are 1-2 pages of tightly but well said words to challenge and take in. I first read this BEFORE my cancer diagnosis in 2017 and struggled but now, some 5 years on, coupled with my own practices, I am better attuned to the teachings.
  • Trusting the Gold by Tara Brach is a dip in and dip out little book of wisdom gleaned from her life experiences. She tells of all her perceived human failings and understanding in a self deprecating way but with self compassion. Tara’s voice is a favourite of mine from her other books which of course I have! And she is now hosting some meditations and sleep stories on Calm.

I like variety and that I can choose!

Atlas of the Heart. Brene Brown.

Atlas of the Heart.

Well..here’s the thing, I have the book, I have the Audible version and I have listened to podcasts with Brene Brown and others.

I am overwhelmed .

I thought I could tandem read and listen.

No. I thought I could just listen…not really. I think it’s partly to do with how HUGE this content is and it would be Brene herself who would admit to it.

I have become a Binge (pay tv) subscriber just to watch the series she made for US on HBO. So far, one episode in, and she is in teaching mode with an audience and I like it a lot.

I now feel over time, it will be more like a dip in and out of experience for me..and the book is freaking heavy to hold!!

Oprah’s SuperSoul:

Atlas of the Heart with Brene Brown

https://open.spotify.com/episode/0tc4spLul60Bh1eTtXOe2W?si=2L7Z7yguSiSglUlYdUIInA

Watching in Australia:

https://binge.com.au/shows/show-brene-brown-atlas-of-the-heart!14634

 

The Space Between The Stars by Indira Naidoo.

I enjoyed this book but it was not a huge new life lesson for me. The story, told eloquently by Indira, a well-known ABC Australia figure, as part love story to her sister and family, and how nature, particularly one tree in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens helped her immensely, was a light read in many ways with some great lessons for love, dying and appreciation of the green, nature and trees all around us. I admit, I saw trees differently after starting the book.

 

With The End in Mind and Listen by Dr Kathryn Mannix.

I freely admit it, I am a huge fan of Dr Mannix’s work. We have connected via social media too. Her work history as a doctor in the UK, eventually took her down the career path into palliative care and following her retirement she went onto help more people.  Now in a career helping train others and be a counsellor in CBT: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, she IS the doctor I would love caring for me or a family member.

Whilst that cannot happen, her words, so generously share on this podcast as great indicators that the world of those who are facing end of life, and death are being cared for much better as a result of this person’s work and that of many. In no way is this work done, but the conversations (Listen is an EXCELLENT book for any challenging conversation, not all about death/sickness)

I started with these books on Audible and now have the actual copies to refer to (see my ‘post its’ and book mark! Dr Kathryn Mannix is on Facebook too.

In finding her on this podcast (highly recommend it too) I have added links to both of her chats with Andrew G Marshall.

The Meaningful Life Podcast. Andrew G Marshall

Dr Kathryn Mannix with Andrew G Marshall

With the End In Mind

https://open.spotify.com/episode/1DYFG8fc9u0RgLh6n34OV7?si=cf53d51198c644f4

The Meaningful Life

Dr Kathryn Mannix with Andrew G Marshall

Listen

https://open.spotify.com/episode/29ichQxYdBvDZt4r3M1jfj?si=78fec487852240ab

 

 

The Inner Work of Age. Shifting from Role to Soul. Dr Connie Zweig.

Now, regular readers know I am doing what I can to learn more about ageing…for me to accept the inevitabilities and to enjoy some of the riches it brings and self-discovery. I first found Dr Connie Zweig’s work by accident or maybe I was meant to…and first listened to her words via Audible. It is via a podcast with Andrew G Marshall I found her work of even greater interest and have now bought the physical book.

I will be reading it over a fairly lengthy period I think as there are activities to do to delve more deeply into the ‘inner me’. Might even be a blog post one time as well.

Role to Soul: Dr Connie Zweig with Andrew G Marshall

https://open.spotify.com/episode/5U4L77vQp5RQ6fFGwux3Ye?si=dd7025da63804196

 

Ten Steps To Nanette. Hannah Gadsby.

 

Now, I am just learning more about Hannah Gadsby through listening to her book. What a listen. And a huge number of life challenges have certainly occurred for Hannah. Rather than me share more, I have included a clip from the promotion for her show “Nanette” which is still on Netflix and explains so much about “her story” and its title. I have also included one podcast where Hannah is in conversation with Glennon Doyle.

Hannah Gadsby with Glennon Doyle

We Can Do Hard Things

https://open.spotify.com/episode/6cVlrd5mRHdx5AlFJyXRAG?si=ec00322afca64866

From Netflix:

And for this month…that’s it! Photo following is of me in front of our family room bookshelf..made by my dear husband.

What have you been reading, and/or listening to in May?

Denyse.

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What Is Your Legacy? 25/2022.

What Is Your Legacy? 25/2022.

 

This post contains some thoughts of mine about old age, dying, regret, love & old familial relationships. I know some people may be affected by reading my thoughts. They are just my thoughts. I tell my story with my truth and honesty. Always. However, to protect certain people there are no names or situations/settings mentioned. Denyse.

 

 

 

I really never gave this question, ‘what is your legacy?’  much thought until I watched Hamilton and then knew the lyrics so well I was stopped in my tracks when I heard Alexander Hamilton speak (Lin Manuel Miranda credit) these lines almost at the end:

Wow.

Had I ever thought of what my legacy might be? No.

Had I ever considered that I might share with someone what HIS/HER legacy for me has been?

Well, yes, I can.

What happened next?

After seeing visions like these

 

and remembering Lin’s amazing words…..

Masked Up for Hamilton in Sydney May 2021.

I decided to share with my 98 year old Dad, what his legacy was for me.

But wait.

It is about the richness of the individual’s life, including what that person accomplished and the impact he or she had on people and places. Ultimately, the story of a person’s life reflects the individual’s legacy. Wikipedia.

Now, read on!

I have been at odds with my father over the years. But always knew he loved/s me and cares for and about me.

I have also known how much he welcomed me into his life when he and Mum had me in 1949. Not a familiar pose for us, but here we are on my wedding day 1971.

 

A memory of Dad, Mum and my brother for his special zero birthday in 2002.

Mum died in 2007 and Dad has spent the past 15 years alone. He moved from the family home in 2011 to an independent living unit where he remains. Mum’s dying words, were, to an extent “look after your father”….and of course, whilst he IS independent I have tried to do this.

 

But for his 9oth Birthday above, he actually had to pass on much of the planning and organisation (to me, my brother & sil, and his grandkids too) for this event to be as special as it was. He STILL refers to the emotional reaction it caused 8 years later.

Dad did have a lot happen in his life, not least, when his Dad died in 1935 leaving him, his older sister and younger siblings with no father. This part of Telling My Story tells more.

Personality types that are similar will often clash. Yes, that is us. Both Type A and want to be in control and in charge. 

Has it helped my relationship with my dad that I continued to hold old memories of being judged?

No not really. Nor has it helped my conflict within me.

 

Easy to read…and to say…harder to do but OH so worth it!

Lessing judging, and comparing and BEing…where you are

 

What did it take for things to thaw and to change?

I can truthfully say that I needed to accept my responsibility for my behaviour, thinking and feeling. 

This is not an easy thing to do BUT it requires:

  • acceptance
  • self compassion
  • kindness
  • examination of any evidence
  • and love….

Most of my thinking was concerned with perceptions of what “he” thought about me and I acknowledge that I “believed” this too. I cannot really rehash those details because they no longer serve me. I had some parts of  rubbish thinking  to question (is it true? how do you know?) and to examine and then let them go.

It has taken me the past five years to do this. And, the most recent 6 or so months for it all to come together in my mind.

Naturally my practice of meditation each day and night has helped change my thoughts and beliefs, as has some of the reading and learning from many sources.

Having a serious illness called cancer diagnosed for me in May 2017 was a game-changer of sorts because I had much to do to get myself well, and Dad would let me know how much he considered me both brave and strong.

In fact, even lately he has told me: I don’t think I could have ever done what you did. And he also told me that about taking on the principal role as he said I was offered a CEO role, and knocked it back. I didn’t want to be away from home.

What Did I Share With Dad? 

Dad, you’ve left me a legacy of:

Music and singing along with it….we know how much you enjoyed music in your life, as Gran played piano and taught it too. And yes, dear readers, I am a music lover from the war years, sentimental tunes and songs from musicals. Dad was the person who organised for me & bro to see the Beatles.

Enjoying socialising and the company of others for a meal, coffee and catch up.

Education Oh how much I am glad of this life long love of it that I have been so fortunate, Dad, that you encouraged and insisted on getting tertiary qualifications and we all know how that went. Very well indeed. Dad actually has what he refers to as history lessons each week with friends where he lives. He loves keeping his mind active

Love & care for family. At times it may not have been done subtly and at times I may not be as patient as I could be either Dad, but we know how much we love and care for our family…and in their ways they love us.

Interacting .…reading,  news watching, listening  and engaging with some topics. I also cannot engage with dad on some, so we leave that!!

Organisation and planning. Yes, thanks Dad.

With My Dad, His Mother (Gran, left) and her Mother, Nana (r)

And it’s not what WE think may be our legacy that matters, it’s what others consider to be the legacy.

I know Dad was quite chuffed and taken aback when I shared this with him recently.

Have you got someone in your life that you’d feel sharing the legacy they have left for you is important to share? As Mum used to say “tell people what their lives have meant to you BEFORE their funerals!” Good one, Mum. And yes, we did for you!

Denyse.

Joining in with Natalie for Weekend Coffee Share today

Thank you Natalie.

https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

 

 

 

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