llywela: (seascape-rainbow)
Happy birthday to my beautiful niece, who is two years old today

It has been a very difficult two years. We were in court yesterday afternoon, hoping to secure her future - at the fourth time of asking. Her mother, my little sister, is very young and autistic with a moderate learning disability, and although she loves her daughter she has not been able to parent her full time, while the baby’s father is a feckless little flake with a possible undiagnosed learning disability, who has proved worse than useless. So my parents are raising the baby, who is bright and articulate and is thriving, but social services kept raising concerns about their age, as both are in their 60s - it was when a social worker stated that the baby was still young enough to be taken away and adopted out that we went out and got a solicitor and applied for a court order that would secure her future within the family

We have a plan. My parents are in good health and are wonderful with the baby, she is thriving under their care. My sister lives at home with them, and as they age and she matures, she will have every chance to begin to step up and take on more responsibility, gradually assuming full time care of her daughter - but if that proves impossible, if she can’t manage it, that’s where I come in. It may well be that my niece will come to me in the end - I am the backup plan. This is a family arrangement that we are all comfortable with, one that will result in the least possible disruption to my niece’s life.

We just needed someone in authority to agree. We’ve been in court four times now this year. The first two times were adjourned because the baby’s father didn’t show up, and the court wanted to give him ‘every chance’ to have his say. The third time, he did show up, but then the court legal advisor was dubious about my parents’ age and wondered if social services should be doing more to provide support, and she swayed the three magistrates, who decided that they couldn’t possibly make a decision, so referred the case to a judge - costing us more time and money and stress.

Finally, yesterday, we got to see a judge. The baby’s father did not turn up. The judge took exactly ten minutes to decide that the arrangements and plans we have in place are entirely sensible, pointed out that no one can predict the future, so the best we can do is put in place a plan for now, which is what we have done, and passed the child arrangement order that we had requested.

Finally! We can now celebrate the baby’s birthday without all this stress hanging over our heads!
llywela: (seascape-rainbow)
It has been a very long few days, celebrating the 21st birthday of the Small Sis

I feel old now! Ian and I took her to Alton Towers yesterday. Three and a half hours there and then back again, but it was totally the right day to go, a term-time weekday, overcast and a bit chilly - there were no queues for any of the rides, we just went straight onto everything. Even I did most of the big ones, some of them twice!

Today...there was less fun stuff going on, Mum and Dad and Chelsea had to be at the magistrate's court, because Mum and Dad are applying for a child arrangement order for Layla-May, which will give them joint parental responsibility, which is a really long story that I'm not up to going into right now, but it's been bubbling along for some time now and will continue to do so for a while yet, as the magistrate adjourned the hearing for eight weeks while CAFCASS do a report, and anyway, Ian and I took Layla-May out for the day while all that was going on, and she had an absolutely lovely day with 'Doh' and 'Ina' (last week it was 'Ani' - one day she will get all of Ian's syllables in the right order!). We went to Dyffryn House in the Vale of Glamorgan - it's only 20 minutes or so by car, and the weather was glorious, not a cloud in the sky.

Layla had a lovely afternoon. She spent a lot of time playing with dandelions, learning how they work

She took her turn sitting on the old stone lions, just like everyone else in the family before her

She practiced going up and down steps

And up and down, and up and down, and up and down some more! She also had soooo much fun splashing in the fountain in the Pompeian Garden - she does love water, so very much

And then we spent ages watching bugs and leaves floating about in the newt pond, but she wasn't allowed to stick her hands in that one, and because I told her so many times not to go in the water, she started saying it for me! "No-no, Lay, don't go water!" So cute!

We also took some time for a little rest

We are getting more and more sentences these days. "No, I not sleepy!" is a particular favourite. She also cracks baby jokes - she'll lie down and say, "I go sleep," followed by fake snores, which is hilarious if you are only one! She is almost 20 months old, taller than some two-year-olds, with a rapidly growing vocabulary. She's very happy and well-adjusted, which is all thanks to my parents, really, for providing her with such a stable home and a loving upbringing, while her parents take it in turns to flake out. Chelsea is back onto a relatively even keel at the moment, so now Jamie has vanished into the wind. Maybe one day things will settle down a little - here's hoping, for Layla's sake
llywela: (flower-blossom)
Oh, such a week, such a week. Little Sis finally managed to break free of the abusive relationship she's been trapped in for months, spiralling downward ever since she was so ill after having the baby (which this other girl took full advantage of). She'd been locked in, so she had to climb out of a window. It's all kicking off now. The other girl was arrested last night.

Will post more when my brain is coherent again.


Mar. 5th, 2017 08:25 pm
llywela: (SN-thoughtful)
We had some bad news today about my cousin Gavin, who has been diagnosed with cancer of the bladder.

Dammit, he's been through too much in his life to have to deal with this now! He was born with only one kidney, which was withered, and wasn't expected to live more than a few weeks - a year at the absolute most. He is now 38 years old and up till the cancer diagnosis looked to be going strong. By the age of 10 he'd had two kidney transplants, which both failed, and then refused to go back on the waiting list for years so that medicine could advance and improve his chances of the third and final transplant actually working. He has spent most of his life tied to dialysis, with all the knock-on health complaints associated with that, and has had more surgery than I can count. When he finally had his third kidney transplant a few years ago, it gave him a new lease of life and he has never looked back.

After going through so much, it would be too cruel if cancer took him now.

Preliminary tests suggest the cancer is contained within the bladder and can be treated, but waiting on further tests.

All positive thoughts and prayers gratefully accepted.
llywela: (flower - hot pink)

Layla-May LOVES Ruby.

Ruby isn't quite so sure!
llywela: (DW-Tardis)

Today Chelsea and I took Layla-May to the Doctor Who Experience. She's a bit little for it yet, perhaps, but it is closing later this year, so we have to make the most of it while it's still there! Layla had a great time. The adventure part of the Experience went right over her head, but she was prepared to enter into the spirit of things anyway. She helped fly the TARDIS, shrieked with excitement as we ran past Weeping Angels in the dark, oohed and aahed every time the lights flashed, cheered for every crystal we discovered (it makes sense in context, honest), and generally had a fabulous sensory experience...even if she didn't have a clue what any of it meant!

In the exhibition, she met Daleks

And a Menoptra

Had fun with the baby-in-the-mirror (always a favourite game)

Asked a model of a Sycorax to pick her up, and wondered if the Silence are secretly vampire bats (the funniest thing about this arrangement is that their legs are all tied together in a big knot up there!)

A good time was had by all! Layla has been very poorly since Christmas, having had oral thrush followed by croup, so it was great to see her so bright and interested.

She's getting very chatty, coming out with new words all the time. We had a little walk along the Barrage while we were there, and I noticed she was huffing and puffing a bit, so asked if she wanted to be picked up and carried for a while. "Later!" she said, determined to conquer the slight incline we were tackling.

Fair enough. She did later decide for herself that she was ready to take a break and be carried!


Nov. 23rd, 2016 09:20 pm
llywela: (Cymru-CastellCaerdydd)
Another random flyby update, because time she does fly! I can't believe it's the end of November already - how did that happen? Where did the time go?

For whoever cares, season three of Y Gwyll continues apace on S4C - the English version Hinterland should pop up on one or other of the BBC channels sometime after Christmas, so watch out for that. There's a really huge plot twist at the end of what on S4C was episode two, but on the BBC will probably be episode one, since they tend to merge the two-part stories into one longer episode shown on one night - so watch out for that!

In other telly news, I've been following the new Doctor Who spin-off, Class, and loving all the location-spotting! The location used for the Coal Hill Academy site is just up the road from my office, our shiny new Hadyn Ellis building (I remember when that was just a new build project we talked about endlessly in Estates Liaison meetings, and now look at it). Once I'd recognised it, I remember all the fuss when they were filming up there, and all the fake flower petals all over the road! Also, April's house is just around the corner from where I used to live, by St John's Church. Oh, and there are plots and characters as well, I guess...

In Old TV news, My Power of the Daleks DVD arrived today - a shiny new animated version of a completely missing Doctor Who adventure. Just when we thought the Classic Who DVD range was over and done with, they produce this! I sat down after work intending to watch just an episode or two, but ended up marathoning all six. I really enjoyed it - I'd read the novelisation previously, so already knew the story, but had never made it through the recon. However cheap the animation, it apparently made all the difference for me! The story is long and slow-paced, it's true, but I found it tightly plotted with strong worldbuilding and a sense of tension that escalated inexorably from episode to episode, while the Daleks are really creepy here - so manipulative and subversive. The wholesale slaughter in episode six is a bit grim, but certainly sells the high stakes, while Troughton makes an immediate impression and is well and truly cemented as the Doctor by the time we reach the end of the story - the success of this first ever regeneration is the reason the show is still on air today, 50 years later. Great stuff.

In work news, I am very happy for my colleague J, who has just gone off on adoption leave after being matched for adoption at last - they were approved way back in February, but had to wait until October before they were matched, and now have their children at home living with them at last. A little boy who just turned two, and a baby girl who will be one in December - just 14 months between them and much younger than they were expecting, so it's all a bit intense and chaotic for them at the moment, but such a precious time as they get to know one another and bond. Hooray for J and M and happy new home to little N and G.

In family news, my older sister has a diagnosis at last, almost five years after she was rushed into hospital with crippling migraine and intracranial pressure three times higher than it should be. Well, she has a partial diagnosis, at least, after finally, finally persuading a consultant to look at all her symptoms instead of each one individually. They have decided that she has fibromyalgia and osteo-arthritis. But the outcome of her sleep trial for apnoea isn't in yet, and they still don't know what to make of the oligoclonal banding found in her spinal fluid, so the diagnosis remains incomplete. But at least she is beginning to get somewhere at last.

In other family news, look at this baby getting all tall and chatty!

In the first picture, that's her reaction every time her absolute favourite Bing comes on the telly. Layla-May adores Bing. In the last pic, she is explaining at great length and volume why it is vitally important to stop and bang on every bench we pass. For science. She also tells lots of babbling baby jokes and then laughs at them. Funny baby. One day, she might even have hair.

I have become Yo, incidentally. And she calls herself Yay-Yay!

In other, other news, have some pretty pictures I took around and about the city this autumn. Every single one of these was taken at the heart of the city centre, believe it or not. Having nearly four miles of unbroken parkland stretching through the middle of city has its benefits!

llywela: (DW - eyes)
Is it mean-spirited to spend Halloween hiding in the back room with all the lights switched off? I just really kind of resent the commercial hijacking of an ancient pagan tradition - and I especially resent that it's become an excuse for all the neighbourhood kids to learn extortion. So I'm hiding.

I haven't updated in a while, since free time is becoming a rare commodity. I have found time to check out the new Doctor Who spin-off, though - Class is currently airing on Saturdays on BBC3. I think I'm well and truly past the target demographic, but I'm enjoying it anyway, it's been promising so far. I've always enjoyed Katherine Kelly's work and I'm loving her as Miss Quill, and I like the other characters too (although the show does fall into the eternal telly trope of hiring 20-somethings to play teenagers). Plus, it's the first high school show I've ever seen that actually reflects the kind of ethnic demographic that was my personal high school experience, so there's that (in my A'level history class there were eight students, of which two were white, the rest from a variety of backgrounds - none of us noticed until the teacher pointed it out, because we didn't think of each other that way). And, you know, it's the Whoniverse. I'm liking it more than I liked the last few seasons of the main show!

Also on my tellybox currently is the second season of Poldark, which is still very beautiful and all the actors are very lovely, and the show is doing a better job of balancing and interweaving sub-plots than it did in season one, although it continues to deviate from the source material in sometimes inexplicable and damaging ways - I really wish Debbie Horsfield had more faith in Graham's novels as written. I also wish she'd read the entire series before attempting to adapt it! She has admitted she only read each book as she adapted it, and it shows - she's had to backpeddle more than once as a result of this approach. But so far she's doing a lovely job with Dwight and Caroline, and since I'm all about Dwight and Caroline when I read the books, that's what I care about most!

But Poldark is no longer on my live viewing schedule, because Y Gwyll began its third season last night on S4C, delegating Poldark to catch-up viewing. It's the first time I've managed to catch Y Gwyll for the Welsh language version on S4C - two seasons in a row I've managed to completely miss it thanks to not realising it was on, and had to catch the bilingual Welsh-English version Hinterland on the BBC a few months later. So the next few Sundays are going to be all about Y Gwyll, which remains as atmospheric and as plot dense as ever.

In other news, family stuff remains difficult - my little sister is not coping with motherhood, the combination of autism and post-natal depression sending her into something of a spiral, leaving her intensely vulnerable and easy prey for negative influences, to which she is sadly susceptible. One so-called friend in particular is taking advantage in a big way, and nothing anyone says or does seems to pull her out of the spiral. So the burden of childcare falls to my parents, who are applying for a child arrangement order to safeguard the baby's future. Layla-May, however, remains oblivious to all of this - she is the happiest little soul in the world (except when you turn a camera in her direction, whereupon she becomes very solemn). At 13 months she is very tall and very active - she's not just walking confidently, she spends all day running, non-stop! One day she might even have hair...

But my Mum and Dad are in their late 60s, and it's a big burden for them to take on, so I am stepping up as the support system and am currently spending a lot of time being Aunty 'Ro-Ro'.
llywela: (Layla-May)
I have fallen off the radar a bit lately - things have been slightly manic! But over the weekend my little niece celebrated her first birthday, so let us mark the occasion with a birthday post.

To celebrate, we gathered on Saturday at Cefn Mably farm park with a few small cousins, and Layla-May had her very first pony ride, petted animals and played on the swings and slide.

For the birthday itself, on Monday, we went out for a family meal, and Layla ran all over the restaurant making friends with everyone she met.

Then back at home, there was the ceremonial opening of presents, which was both very exciting and very overwhelming for a little one.

A tea party followed, and we learned that Layla-May really, really does not understand this whole 'singing Happy Birthday' thing, that's just weird! But she LOVES chocolate cake.

Happy birthday, Layla-May
llywela: (Layla-May)
My niece is 11 months old and she can already say "Eed" or "Eedit" if she wants to have a book read to her, usually accompanied by the flapping of said book in the face of the nearest adult. If this fails to achieve the desired result, she will go over to her book box and say, "Eedaboo", and of course, at 11 months, she has no idea that there are three separate words there, but she does, nonetheless, know that "Do you want to read a book?" is the sound human beings make when she goes to her book box, so that she also, when she goes to her book box, says "Eedaboo", so that we will know she wants to read a book.

Bright baby is bright.

llywela: (Cranford-boating)
After a week away in the Cotswolds, I am now home from my holidays - bringing back with me a burned finger (never cook on an unfamiliar stove) and a bruised back (fell out of bed!)

The holiday was a big family get-away, there were ten of us altogether, including the baby - occasionally fractious (inevitable with so many personalities crammed together) but mostly a lot of fun.

We stayed in a pretty little upside-down-house on the side of a hill in Nailsworth, near Stroud. This was the view from the balcony:

Continued behind the cut - very long post with lots of pics! )
llywela: (Layla-May)

Tonight while I was visiting at my mum's, over the course of the evening Layla-May went from two faltering steps on her own to six increasingly confident steps on her own, from wibbling and wobbling and struggling to get her balance to standing straight up off my knee and launching herself.

The baby-proofing gets serious from here on out! She is ten months old now and has a fast growing vocabulary (hiya, hello, mum, dad, up, no, dog, nanna, ta, yeah) but not a single tooth in her head as yet, although she's been teething half her life already.

On a more serious note, Chelsea brought Layla into town to meet me for lunch yesterday, then went off to meet a friend afterward, and while they were in town they were accosted by a man we think can only have been Chelsea's birth father. He approached them, addressing Chelsea by name - and used her former surname, from before she was adopted. He smelled of booze and weed, and wouldn't identify himself, just kept asking if she was Chelsea W- (she told him that isn't her name, which it isn't any more) and then turned his attention to the baby, asking if this was her daughter and could he hold her - and then tried to take the baby out of the pushchair. Chelsea started screaming and hollering at that point, whereupon he ran off shouting that she's just like her mother. Which she is - spitting image. He matched the description of her father, 20 years later - and he was already an alcoholic even back then. Clearly hasn't improved. He hasn't seen her since she was a year old, but she really is the image of her birth mother, that's how he recognised her. Really freaked her out.

Cardiff isn't a huge city, but it also isn't small - what are the odds?!
llywela: (family-1952Reg)

I really love these photos.

These are some of my great-aunts, my grandmother’s older sisters, who were young women in the 1920s - Alma, Doris, Thelma and Phyllis (pictured twice, who died young of TB meningitis).

They were ordinary girls, the daughters of a dock labourer who raised 12 children to adulthood. They’d each of them left school by the age of 14 and went out to work, because the family needed the money. The jobs they found weren’t easy - they worked in factories and builder’s yards. They had a difficult life.

But somewhere amid the poverty and overcrowding, they got themselves dressed up and found the money to have these photos taken, and they look so beautiful and glamorous in their 1920s fashions. Good for them!
llywela: (Layla-May)

Okay, so this right here, this is what it looks like when you are standing on top of a mountain and a cloud rolls over you.

Ian and I took Chelsea up Pen-y-Fan yesterday. It wasn't as sunny as last time I went up! Being cooler made it a much easier hike, though. It isn't actually that far from the car park to the top - about a mile and a half. It's just steep, gaining over 400m in height in that mile and a half. The peak itself is 886m above sea level, the highest point in southern Britain, and the view is fab - on a clear day.

More behind the cut )

I think my day off up the mountain was all the more appreciated because work is so frantic at the moment, my team now crossing the threshold from short-staffed to critically short-staffed. Although the department is large, my team is very small - just six of us all together: boss Linda, two receptionists, and three administrators, one of which is me, and out of our admin trio, we overlap but each have our own particular areas of work, with me overlapping the most because I'm the only one that's full time. So that's all been fine, but about a month ago one of my fellow admins left to take up a new job in the Law School (where she's been enjoying watching Doctor Who filming in the courtyard recently!), and then plans for a replacement got put on hold because one of the receptionists handed in her notice as she's also got a new job, which starts next week, her last day with us is Friday. Then last week, just to put the tin hat on things, the other admin was admitted to hospital with pregnancy complications and has to stay in until the baby is born (she's 29 weeks, and her last baby was born at 31). So all of a sudden I am doing three jobs as well as picking up reception cover - and the third job had no handover (and half the procedures not written yet, which I'm a bit annoyed about because she's had months and she knew she was likely to go early, although we'd all hoped not this early!)

On the bright side, S has been in for nearly a week now and still no baby - the longer he hangs on in there, the better. She's also bored enough in hospital to be emailing notes to help me pick up the loose ends of her job, for which I'm very grateful. And after the initial panic, it's been confirmed that an assistant from another team is coming to us on secondment, which will ease the pressure considerably once she's trained. Just need to get through the next few weeks intact - next week being the next big hurdle as receptionist#1 will have left, receptionist#2 is on holiday, and Boss is only in a day or two, so for most of the week our once six-strong team will boil down to just me and a temp!

In other news, Layla-May is growing fast, has no interest in crawling but is desperate to walk. Her mother, however, isn't doing so well - the last few weeks she's really started to struggle, the health visitor suspects post-natal depression which is also triggering her autism, but the mental health team are not being helpful. My poor mum is taking the strain, she's effectively Layla's primary carer at this point

But despite the difficulties, the baby is thriving, which is what really matters.


May. 16th, 2016 09:40 pm
llywela: (flower-daisy)
In work today we heard that our colleague John G passed away in hospice over the weekend, and it wasn't a surprise, we've been waiting for it since Christmas, he's lasted a lot longer than expected, but even so, damn. I liked John. He was no older than me. And he'd fought and conquered that dragon once already, only for it to take him down in the end.

So let's have some pretty pics to cheer me up, starting with my week off work earlier this month, already a fast-receding memory...

I already posted about taking Chelsea and Layla for a day at St Fagans. We also spent a day hanging out in the sunshine at Cardiff Bay, walked across the Barrage and then took Layla for her first proper boat ride, catching the acquabus back across to the Marina.

I'll stick the rest behing a cut, to spare your f-lists - click for the rest )
llywela: (flower - bluebell)
On Bank Holiday Monday my sister - the older one, who lives near Maidstone - had the bright idea of a family gathering at Westonbirt Arboretum, which is not quite halfway between our homes but near enough. Meeting there has been a tradition for almost 20 years now, ever since Deb moved out and baby Chelsea moved in and we all met up at Westonbirt for Chelsea's first birthday, which is in early May, bluebell season. That first year, when Chel was about to turn one, she insisted on walking the whole way around, because she loved being on her feet, and we took photographs of her sitting in a field of bluebells. It became a birthday tradition - another year, another bluebell photo...although not always at Westonbirt. But this year Deb wanted to meet, to see Chelsea for her birthday and take another photo of her in the bluebells, this time with her own baby on her knee. So despite the dodgy forecast we got in our cars and headed to the Arboretum, and it wasn't so bad at first, a bit chilly, a spot of drizzle, we met and had lunch...and then the heavens opened.

So no bluebell photo this year, not at Westonbirt at any rate. But today Chelsea and I took Layla-May to St Fagans, and two days have made all the difference in the weather, for it was glorious. And we then happened upon a bank of bluebells that we weren't expecting to find there - too good a chance to pass up!

So here is Chelsea Leigh in the bluebells on May 3rd 1997, aged almost 12 months:
1997-05-03 Chelsea.jpg

And here is Layla-May in the bluebells on 4th May 2016, aged 7-and-a-half months:


Mar. 14th, 2016 07:36 pm
llywela: (Cranford-boating)
Took a Mother's Day walk around Cosmeston Lakes near Penarth last week - crisp and clear, it felt properly spring for the first time this year. Plus, pretty!

Poppy and Alfie being cute

Yesterday I had an injured magpie in the garden - I was out pottering around in the sun, the bird was cowering in a corner behind my biggest pot, and I ended up spending most of the afternoon chasing the cats away from it! Mr Huntsman Alfie got bored and wandered off pretty quickly, but Poppy, who has never caught live prey in her life, remained fascinated and kept going back to edge in close and stare at the bird, like she thought if she stared hard enough it might walk into her mouth. I honestly thought I was going to find a sad little corpse out there this morning, but it seems to have recovered and flown off overnight. Either that or something else had it - but there's no evidence of a violent struggle, so I'm going with the happy ending theory!

Layla-May's future is decided: she is going to be a Time Lord! Here she is modelling her best First Doctor expression

Also: more cuteness
P1130818.jpg P1130817.jpg P1130810.jpg


Feb. 29th, 2016 08:30 pm
llywela: (Layla-May)

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's super-baby!

Layla-May has discovered Ruby. For the first four months of her life, she had no awareness of the dog whatsoever, but then one day she looked up and realised that her home was shared with this perambulatory bundle of fluff, and she was entranced. Since then, if Ruby so much as wanders across her field of vision she erupts into laughter and squeals of sheer delight. And lunges, trying desperately to get as close as she possibly can.

Ruby, on the other hand, maintains the same stance she's held all along, which is that she sees no point whatsoever to this very tiny human being that serves no practical purpose, and therefore ignores it as completely as she possibly can - even when it is trying to eat her ears! She'll change her tune as soon as Layla starts dropping food...

In other news, my cats continue cute!
llywela: (greatwards-arthurclara)
Granny Green and Granma Bitterly.JPG Granny Green and Granma Bitterly - fixed.JPG

Tucked away in a box at the back of a cupboard, we have a huge collection of old family photos, some of them dating back over a century, which a few years ago I sorted through and scanned electronically. Quite a few of those photos are in poor condition, as we see here, so I’ve been having a go at restoration. What do you think? The results aren’t perfect, but do improve the image!

The caption on the back of this particular photo reads ‘Grannie Green and Granma Bitterly’, which places it somewhere around the turn of the 20th century, I’d say, looking at their approximate ages here.

Grannie Green was my great-grandmother, born Blanche Sara Ludlow in Cardiff in 1880; her mother died when she was 14, and four years later, at the age of 18, she married Samuel Green. He was eight years older than Blanche, and, family legend has it, met her when she was 10 and he was 18 and then waited eight years for her to grow up so he could marry her - the very idea of it seems scandalous today! Blanche and Samuel married in June 1898 and their first child, Alec, was born in December of the same year - definitely something of a shotgun marriage there! They had 12 children, who all survived into adulthood, and the 10th, born in 1918, was my grandmother, Vera. Blanche died of peritonitis in 1931 when Vera was 13 years old, while Samuel lived until 1960 - living with Vera and her husband Arthur after their marriage, despite their growing family. We still have the telegram the family received informing them that Samuel had died in hospital overnight - it arrived just as they were about to set off to visit him. It's so perfunctory: 'regret to inform Samuel Green passed away please call my office'. Damn, that's cold! But you paid by the character for telegrams!

The Bitterly connection is a bit more…complicated to unravel. ‘Granma Bitterly’ would have been Samuel Green’s mother, born Sarah French in Cardiff in December 1850, whose husband Thomas was born Thomas Bitterly in Wolverhampton in 1849 and seems to have changed his name to Green at some point in his youth, possibly about the same time that he moved down to Cardiff - a fresh name for a fresh start? There’s a whiff of scandal about the whole thing - especially since we know that Thomas Green also spent about five years in prison in the late 1870s after being convicted of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm - can’t have been easy for Sarah, left alone to care for three small children in his absence! They went on to have three more after he came home. The family were officially known as Green, listed as such on their marriage certificate and censuses, and none of their children ever used any name but Green, but the caption on the back of this photo implies that Thomas and Sarah also still used the name Bitterly, informally at least! Of course, the full story with all the whys and wherefores of the name change is long since lost to time. We’ll never know what really happened. Sarah died in 1932, outliving her daughter-in-law by one year, while Thomas died in 1934, taking the secrets of his past to the grave with him.
llywela: (Xmas)
...and everyone was ill. That's how it seemed, anyway!

My older sister, Deb, had a lumbar puncture on December 22nd, somehow still thought it would be a good idea to drive all the way from Maidstone to Cardiff on the 23rd, had to spend three days lying flat in a darkened room to recover, and then carried on down to Cornwall to visit her husband's family, so we barely saw her really. And my younger sister, Chelsea, had to go to the doctor late on Christmas Eve - the doctor was actually leaving for the day when we rang, but came back just to see her! Turned out, the cold she'd been battling for a couple of weeks at that point had turned to an ear infection, chest infection and sinusitis, and her 'good' eardrum had already perforated. So she spent most of Christmas Day virtually comatose - and was terribly upset to miss her baby's first Christmas. She's still ill now, over a week later. Lots of other people had colds as well, and then just after Christmas Layla-May also caught the cold, which promptly turned to bronchiolitis, so on New Year's Eve she had to go to the doctor as well!

So much sickness and contagion all around - I've managed to avoid all lurgies so far, keeping my fingers crossed it stays that way!

On the bright side, Layla-May managed to have a lovely first Christmas in spite of it all - she had exciting new toys and lots of cuddles. What more could a three-month-old ask for? She's a very happy, contented baby - even now, while she's ill and coughing up phlegm, she's still trying hard to smile at everyone she sees, bless her. The doctor couldn't get over what a happy little thing she is even though she's ill. And so chatty - heaven help us when she starts to figure out actual words...

This is Little Miss Claus with me on Christmas day, exhausted by the tiring business of opening presents and laughing at everyone:

And a very poorly Layla earlier this week, still laughing her head off at me blowing raspberries at her (best joke in the world)

Also over Christmas, visited the Ice Kingdom at Cardiff's Winter Wonderland - the sculptures were beautiful!


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