Monday, 31 December 2012


491. New cousins.
492. Deeper friendships.
493. Growing children.
494. New babysitters.
495. A dynamic team of professionals.
496. Freedom.
497. This wet England.
498. Relearning old friendships.
499. Good health.
500. All God's gifts, large and small, this year.


Sunday, 30 December 2012


481. Children with long memories.
482. Bouncy beds.
483. Hospital tea.
484. Flexible nurses.
485. Parking spaces.
486. Space for a 3rd wheelchair user in our bus.
487. New treatments.
488. Flat fields.
489. Well-timed rain showers.
490. Touch screen lifts.


Saturday, 29 December 2012


471. Roads built higher than the floods
472. Drive thru lunches
473. Friendly holiday cottage hosts.
474. Comfy holiday settees.
475. Double doors dividing holiday bedrooms.
476. Quick boiling kettles.
477. The Fens
478. One Supercute toddler.
479. Duvet coats
480. Finally sleeping children.



461. Time zones.
462. Friends awake around the clock.
463. Wise counsel.
464. Olive bread.
465. A God who never sleeps.
466. Reliable electricity.
467. Friendly plumbers.
468. Stimulating debate.
469. Wensleydale with cranberries.
470. Purple sparkly jumpers on pretty girls.


Thursday, 27 December 2012


451. Multigenerational cousins meeting.
452. Squishing fifteen people around a table meant for 8.
453. Filling that table with enough food for 30.
454. Second cousins sharing a children's table for the first time, echoes of their parents at the same age.
455. Recycling family history.
456. Squid in ink.
457. Squidgable baby boys all chuckling and grinning and snuggling in for a sneaky mid lunch snooze.
458. Moonlight over flood plains.
459. Flexible seating arrangements in our wonderful and very lovely bus.
460. Continuity.


Tuesday, 25 December 2012


441. "This is my best present in the whole wide world and I actually love it."
442. "Cousins are better than presents."
443. "A pencil case all for me? I have never ever had a whole Hello Kitty Pencil Case all for me. I have always wanted this"
444. "This is my beautiful dress."
445. "I do love my family and my sister."
446. "We are cousins and we are kissing."
447. "Bread Sauce??"
448. "You are the kindest mummy in the whole wide world and I love you"
449. "This was a lovely day we had today wasn't it?"
450. "ahh" [kick] "ahh" (Mog-speak for "yes I agree to all of that."


Monday, 24 December 2012


431. Christingles.
432. Children keen to get to bed to make the morning come.
433. Cousins dancing together.
434. Chestnut and chocolate mousse.
435. Big fat juicy prawns.
436. Stockings.
437. Jostein Gaarder.
438. The obedience of Mary and Joseph.
439. God made flesh, no warrior but a tiny vulnerable baby.
440. Simple Truth.


Saturday, 22 December 2012


421. Mild evenings.
422. New coats.
423. A cupboard full of blankets.
424. An immersion tank.
425. Plug in radiators.
426. No wind.
427. Playmate cousins.
428. Marzipan chocolate logs.
429. 3 more sleeps.
430. Sellotape.


Friday, 21 December 2012


411. A new scented candle, with dark wax, which makes the flames appear to float in a deep pool.
412. Christmas Specials to string out bedtime.
413. An uncle to walk home from school.
414. A ten year old ecstatic with the nail art kit which is her Christmas present from school.
415. Two weeks without the morning bus race.
416. The last parking space in Teaco.
417. Being able to be a tiny bit useful to two separate people today.
418. A steady stream of visitors.
419. The traditional family chocolate truffles.
420. Cling film.


Thursday, 20 December 2012


401. X-rays not needed.
402. Registrars with the giggles.
403. Company in the slowest Of slow clinics.
404. Sight of an orange form - now very nearly officially on a waiting list.
405. A surprisingly clear run home.
406. Cats who appear to be largely uninterested in our Christmas tree.
407. Pleasure in rereading familiar stories.
408. Two girls listening together and both wanting more.
409. Giggles from one child who finally woke up properly for about thirty minutes this evening.
410. The silence of the CPAP.


Wednesday, 19 December 2012


391. Dark nights leading naturally to early bedtimes.
392. Gingernuts.
393. Flapjacks.
394. Melted butter and golden syrup.
395. Twinkly lights.
396. Cats with winter manes and bushy tails.
397. Snuggly throws.
398. Christmas at Fairacre.
399. Smiles from strangers.
400. Whoosh click whirr from a functioning boiler.


Tuesday, 18 December 2012


381. Compassionate surgeons.
382. Kindly anaesthetists.
383. Enthusiastic student nurses.
384. Sympathetic staff nurses.
385. Hospital bedside tv sets.
386. Play specialists with long memories.
387. Sleepy gas.
388. Mild mornings.
389. Princess Jigsaw Puzzles.
390. Uneventful operations.


Monday, 17 December 2012


371. Fresh olive bread.
372. Old ladies exercising.
373. Courier companies with one hour delivery slots.
374. Gold and silver cat fur.
375. Tracey Beaker.
376. Unexpected friendships.
377. Morning surgery lists.
378. Tap water drinkable and tasty straight from the tap.
379. 8 more sleeps.
380. Soft pitter-patter of happy paws from the non-barky dog upstairs.


Sunday, 16 December 2012


361. Friends with power chairs. And the joy of telling children off as "No you may not use your chairs to play bumper cars."
362. Advent Carols
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363. Magnificent Cathedrals
364. Simple barn conversions.
365. House churches.
366. God's people, across this world, preparing to celebrate Christmas whether lavishly and abundantly or covertly and underground.
367. Light of the World that came down into Darkness.
368. The fact that Light is always more powerful than the dark; that a single candle can illuminate a room, but a single spot of darkness can go unnoticed.
369. Willian Tyndale
370. Wycliffe translators, continuing to make the Good News accessible in more and more languages.


Saturday, 15 December 2012


351. Casting Crowns.
352. Kutless
353. Norah Jones.
354. Hillsong.
355. Tim Hughes.
356. Matt Redman
357. The Downing Family.
358. Dido.
359. Abba
360. iTunes!


Friday, 14 December 2012


341. Doctors and other medical worker with the integrity to say when they don't know something.
342. School Christmas plays.
343. Special school Christmas plays where the narrators get huge rounds of applause for reading the words, and where members of the choir can bounce off stage to say hello mummy, and where staff are unafraid to dress up as pirouetting angels.
344. Brownies.
345. Brownie sleepovers.
346. Brownie sleepovers combining with a night's respite meaning I am alone in the house and have no child needing me in the morning.
347. Brownie Guiders willing and able to include a rather complex child in all their activities.
348. Cats finally agreeing to use the cat flap even with the flap in situ - no more draughty cat hole.
349. Friends walking this same road in love and understanding, without the need for competition.
350. Grace.


Thursday, 13 December 2012


331. Overhearing conversations between tLP and a carer "I call her Mummy Darling because she is my darling and my princess."
332. Big parcels of chocolate. From friends who understand about Cadburys.
333. Christmas lights twinkling from neighbours' windows and gardens.
334. A return to good health.
335. Freshly sharpened pencils.
336. A God who holds the grand design, even when I can't see it.
337. Mary Poppins.
338. A big bag of freshly ironed clothing.
339. Thick velvet curtains.
340. Delicately frozen leaves and berries.


Wednesday, 12 December 2012


321. Icicles
322. Not having to go outside at all today.
323. A small girl who believes helping to tidy my bedroom is a big exciting thing to do.
324. Empty laundry baskets, even if OT for half an hour.
325. The Tiger Who Came To Tea.
326. "Mummy you pray for me?"
327. Whichever of my neighbours it is who has taken to grooming Grolly - she's never looked so polished.
328. New recipes for biscuits.
329. Handprints.
330. Cosy rumbling contented purrs from the cat curled up on my side.


Tuesday, 11 December 2012


311. Time spent with friends.
312. Friends who understand how that time can end up cut short without notice.
313. Clear roads between us.
314. Frost and fog on harvested fields.
315. Petrol stations which appear just as the emergency fuel reserve message comes up on the dashboard.
316. An unlimited supply of towels and handwash.
317. The kindness and genuine empathy from school staff.
318. Fresh tea cakes from a farm shop.
319. Answerphones.
320. Noel Streatfeild.


Monday, 10 December 2012


301. Friends who aren't afraid to babysit.
302. Big cupboards.
303. Hospitals with internet access for patients' relatives.
304. School staff who understand how to get the best out of Mog.
305. Grouchiness which turns to glee when I finally get the message and drop what I'm doing to cuddle.
306. Carers who nearly know my girls better than I do.
307. Reading The Magic Porridge Pot with tLP, and hearing her giggle as the story unfolds - as she herself sounds out the words quickly enough to be able to take on board the meaning too.
308. Freshly baked bread, steaming hot and perfect.
309. Visitors who can ignore the mess and the chaos and just enjoy the visit.
310. Cold air biting into the lungs and blowing away the internal cobwebs.


Sunday, 9 December 2012


291. Counting down to Christmas.
292. Great Auntie Edith's Nativity set.
293. Our Advent Story Calendar book.
294. Greenery.
295. Tree lights which work out of the box.
296. Soldier decorations from last year at Clarence House.
297. Goldie's glass bauble she made at Helen House, hung so desperately carefully.
298. Special Kids in the UK gingerbread man, hanging on the strongest branch.
299. A tree tip strong enough for our gold star.
300. Children excited to be decorating the tree.


Saturday, 8 December 2012


271. Small nurseries selling beautifully symmetrical Christmas trees.
272. Learning how to hang a Christmas Wreath without taking out the letter box.
273. Chestnut and mushroom en croute.
274. Friends with driveways long enough for Lotty the Beastwagon.
275. The amazing softness that is the underbelly of a cat.
276. Reading a new book, and then immediately rereading it to spot hints about the plot twists.
277. Sorbsan.
278. Adjustable parameters on the SATs monitor.
279. Home oxygen.
280. Dry shampoo.


Friday, 7 December 2012


261. Our GP.
262. Kindness from other drivers, pulling backwards to accommodate our ginormous beastmobile plus lift in a parking space.
263. Smiles from a Big Issue lady.
264. The sentence "I am a girl and I hav a cat I hav a rabt I have animals" written in tLP's best handwriting.
265. Chocolate malted milk biscuits.
266. Early nights.
267. BiPAP.
268. Sterile water.
269. Bin men.
270. Plastic.


Thursday, 6 December 2012


251. Friendships which grow out of casual conversations online.
252. Social workers willing to take a chance on friendships which grew out of casual conversations online.
253. Circles of adults able to put history aside and work for the good of the child.
254. Adoption.
255. Children who were temporarily siblings getting to know each other as friends.
256. Extra long parking spaces.
257. Friends who understand that a door shut in their faces is not an insult but joy of a child in the magic button for the lift.
258. Watching a child grow and bloom In the right family.
259. New information about that which I've always considered to be a footstool.
260. Understanding.


Wednesday, 5 December 2012


231. Late nights.
232. Mobile phones.
233. Christmas music.
234. The scent of pine trees.
235. Grolly's "look at me, I have caught a leaf" mew.
236. A fever coming down.
237. Mitrofanoff. Whoever he was.
238. Grapes.
239. A full pantry.
240. Clean floors.
241. Warm jumpers.
242. Curly squidgy little girl toes.
243. Dominoes.
244. The Giggle of a small child playing shops with Friend.
245. Health professionals who make house calls.
246. Parking sensors on the new bus.
247. Simon and Garfunkel.
248. Unshakable faith in God my Rock.
249. Alarm clocks.
250. Paper lampshades, diffusing harsh bulbs to gentle glows.


Tuesday, 4 December 2012


221. Old friends who know more of me than anyone else.
222. Laughter
223. Honesty
224. Remniscencing.
225. Cheeselets.
226. Candlelight.
227. Vienna
228. Network Rail.
229. Picture messaging.
230. The hint of a promise of snow to come.


Monday, 3 December 2012


211. Domicilary Outreach.
212. Unlimited suction catheters.
213. Parents who live close enough to buy extra paracetamol.
214. The soporific effect of Norah Jones.
215. Coconut water. So much nicer than dioralyte.
216. Hot brioche with melting butter.
217. The satisfaction of shattering ice in puddles.
218. Friends with stethoscopes
219. Feline friendships, becoming closer as the weather cools.
220. Icicles.


Sunday, 2 December 2012


201. Advent.
202. Quiet cuddles with a poorly girl.
203. Beef casserole with dumplings.
204. A 7 year old who is able to make intelligent substitutions in a cake recipe.
205. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
206. Fluffy blankets
207. Double glazing.
208. New stories.
209. Cat fishing.
210. Frost on window panes.


Saturday, 1 December 2012


191. Diazepam
192. Buscopan
193. Saline
194. Suction
195. Olbas Oil
196. Vicks
197. Silicone
198. Spare batteries
199. Beeps
200. Malted Milk cow biscuits.


Friday, 30 November 2012


181. Pizza
182. Cheese and 'atato pie
183. Chocolate Bar.
184. Baby Beer Squeaked
185. Three Little Pigs.
186. Ugly Troll.
187. Ahem!
188. Come on, Amen.
189. Time to go home.
190. That one day I'll hear all these again, not just as echoes.


Thursday, 29 November 2012


171. Free parking at the Orthopaedic Hospital.
172. Catching up with friends in the waiting room.
173. An honest doctor, not looking for the quick fix.
174. Noisy breathing, so I know it's still happening.
175. Neighbours who will take in parcels and deliver them discreetly.
176. Internet shopping.
177. Sweet conversation and cuddles with a very beautiful seven year old.
178. School photographs actually worth buying.
179. Rennies.
180. My own wonderful bed.


Wednesday, 28 November 2012


161. The RAC
162. That the electrical fault Lotty has developed showed itself now, and not over our weekend away.
163. Getting home safely despite the many electrical weirdities
164. That I haven't yet sold our old van (side note: anyone want a WAV?)
165. A new dentist not scared to stick her fingers in Mog's mouth.
166. Evidence of a good diet apparently showing in her teeth and gums.
167. Smallish girls squabbling over who gets to push Mog's chair.
168. Cats who believe it is their role in life to keep the wheelchair cushions warm.
169. Secondhand fabric stashes.
170. A washing machine with an almost silent spin.


Tuesday, 27 November 2012


151. Looming deadlines - excellent motivational tools
152. Google Images.
153. Inspiration.
154. Old curtains.
155. Fabric dye.
156. A functional sewing machine
157. Creativity.
158. Hands that do more or less what I tell them to do.
159. A mother who taught me to see.
160. The opportunity to use all of the above to serve others.

Monday, 26 November 2012


141. The Catlings
142. Fifteen extra minutes help this morning, as carer and I raced the click to get girls dressed and a respite suitcase repacked.
143. Care staff who check suitcases early afternoon, rather than waiting until bedtime to discover problems with my packing.
144. And who carefully don't laugh or sound annoyed when I tell them I've lost the bookings form again, and ask them to tell me the new dates again.
145. And who make Mog smile, even if she must have been looking forwards to more than one might at home.
146. School transport. Nothing nicer than opening the door and waving a child in, rather than trekking to school in the rain.
147. Ibuprofen.
148. Hot water bottles.
149. Grolly's soggy leaves.
150. Being able to answer "yes" when a small child asks for another cuddle.


Sunday, 25 November 2012


131. Friends who come to the rescue when long-distance mobile blogging goes pearshaped.
132. How much easier it is to push Mog's new chair uphill.
133. A Great Grannie happy to play Ludo with two cousins not quite up to playing it by themselves.
134. Caramelised onion, courgette and feta pizza, as perfected by Mama and Mr B.
135. The driving rain which paused long enough to give us a brisk walk through the village and a pleasant drive home.
136. The independence of the seven year old able to use the service station lift alone - something which will free us up enormously in the future too.
137. Automatic windscreen wipers which adjust their speed according to the wetness of the rain.
138. Being able to sit beside tLP in the back of the bus when Grandad is driving.
139. Mog's pleasure at sitting in the front.
140. Self tightening wheelchair restraints.


Saturday, 24 November 2012


121. Takeaway curry.
122. Gardening in laws.
123. Wildlife enthusiasts.
124. Art gallery café big enough for 14 of us.
125. A baby gleefully enjoying being the last child up.
126. Interchangeable phone chargers.
127. Time to catch up properly without watching the clock.
128. Hearing aids.
129. Comfy cuddly settees.
130. Digital cameras, instantly preserving a piece of the memories.


Friday, 23 November 2012


111. Family gatherings
112. The giggle of a tickled baby.
113. Mama B's apple crumble.
114. Cousins playing together.
115. Getting to know a precious niece and nephew.
116. Swapping family stories and re-airing family legends.
117. Sisters sharing a lilo.
118. That perfect moment when all six children are asleep, and the eight adults still have enough wakefulness to enjoy it.
119. Gerbils.
120. Safe journeys for all of us who travelled to get here.


Thursday, 22 November 2012


101. The knowledge that there absolutely more to Life than this life; that we will meet again.
102. Looking forwards to a lovely weekend with extended family.
103. New insight into the meaning of tLP's name - Special.
104. Dairy Milk.
105. Laughter through tears.
106. Soft snuggly fleece pyjamas.
107. Two girls giggling.
108. Truth.
109. Music for all emotions.
110. The power of words.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012


91. Our new van, Lotty. So named due to her license plate, and because she's a whole Lotty bus!
92. Motability, who helped us with the funding and organised all the logistics, and calmed me down with the DLA people told me the garage was acting fraudulently (they weren't).
93. The manufacturers, for creating adjustable height seats.
94. The first converters, who filled it full of useful little stowage boxes where I can lose file bits and pieces. Oh, and who fitted the world's coolest lift and an extra long set of tracking so we will be able to clamp a third wheelchair in when needed.
95. The second converters, who delivered it to us all clean and polished, and with just barely enough fuel to reach a petrol station, thus giving me the ideal excuse to take it for a drive immediately.
96. The initial assessor, who listened to our reasons for wanting Miss Mog to ride up front with me, but who also made sure we had the space we needed in the back.
97. TLP, for being so spectacularly excited about its arrival and presence in our lives.
98. Automatic headlights, although working out whether they are on or off is interesting.
99. A return to good enough health to get booted from hospital for a friend of ours.
100. The box of French Fancies I forgot to pass on to my friend in hospital. Oops.


Tuesday, 20 November 2012


The often invisible people who keep Helen House ticking over
71. Cleaners
72. Cooks
73. Maintenance guys.
74. Gardeners
75. Fundraisers.
76. Volunteers who do all kinds of things from family support to staffing the shops.
77. Everyone who has ever donated money, whether 10p in a collection tin or £10,000 at a charity event; it all counts.
78. The photographers who keep clicking until they catch the smile.
79. Trustees and directors and managers of all kinds.
80. Therapists - music and physio and massage, and probably a few more we haven't met yet.
81. Carers.
82. Nurses.
83. Doctors
84. Family support staff, bereavement support, chaplain
85. Sister Frances who had the vision for Helen House, which has led to children's hospices across the UK and now around the world.
86. The people who keep the art room stocked with enough craft supplies to delight the hearts of an army of small girls.
87. The teacher who manages to create a curriculum for whoever comes through the door, adapting everything to the needs and health of the child concerned.
88. Disney who donate crates of toys for the children staying. And the other donors of shedloads of Easter eggs, Christmas bits and pieces, and everything else.
89. Other parents who put aside their own concerns to enter into Amana's chatter.
90. All those who liaise with other services, who come to appointments with us, who check up on us between stays, those working elsewhere who visit us at Helen House, for everyone who works towards ensuring that our stays are restful, and that between stays the support is still there.


Monday, 19 November 2012


61. Helen House Hospice.
62. A meal cooked, served, and washed away by someone else.
63. Nystatin, Canestan and Maxitrol (guess what Mog's got!)
64. Staff who have handled tLP so skilfully that for I think the first time ever, she has settled into bed here without tears.
65. Night staff watching over the girls and the other guests.
66. My second home, this beautiful little flat where I can escape to, knowing that I will be contacted if there are any problems, but that I can sleep without listening out for alarms and cries.
67. Friends booked in at the same time; smily faces and new audiences for tLP.
68. A chef who cooked an extra mild chilli just for Mog, in case she couldn't handle the heat.
69. Clean sheets and a comfy bed.
70. Peace. Quiet times away from the hustle and bustle of a quite ridiculously busy life. The silence of a flat with no other people in it. The peace of mind which comes from knowing both girls fell asleep with smiles on their faces. And the peace of God which passes all understanding, and which enables there to be so much joy and happiness around a place where so many children come to die.


Sunday, 18 November 2012


51. A new wheelchair.
52. Watching a small child discover the power of the written word.
53. Chicken risotto.
54. Miss Read.
55. Parents who taught us life skills
56. Radio 4.
57. Bright blue skies with nose tingly cold mornings.
58. Friendly helpful workmen, moving cones to give us access to the footpath on the way to church.
59. Whoever it was who has had the church ramp neatened up with metal edges.
60. Friends of tLP who find ways for her to play hide-and-seek with her in the church forecourt, without jumping onto walls or crouching behind dustbins or any one of the other ways in which she might otherwise be excluded.


Saturday, 17 November 2012


41. Sleeping children
42. The silence of a sleeping house, disturbed only by the occasional crunch from the cats' early breakfast.
43. A comfy armchair.
44. Coffee.
45. Snuggly quilts.
46. An unscheduled day ahead.
47. The selective vision which allows me to ignore the clutter and chaos at floor level, fixing my eyes instead on the pleasing view higher up.
48. Neat arrangements of books.
49. Family photos.
50. Our peace lily.

Friday, 16 November 2012


31. Sausage casserole.
32. Motability.
33. Hoists.
34. CBBC.
35. Texts from friends which come just at the right moment, even if they don't know it.
36. Jane Austen.
37. Blogger.
38. Neighbours who always take the time to chat to tLP and never appear to be annoyed by the fact she pops out to see them every time they pull up onto their drive.
39. The crunch of crisp autumnal leaves under foot and wheel.
40. The school bus.


Thursday, 15 November 2012


21. Our National Health Service.
22. A shower bench, at just the right height to hose down small children.
23. A washing machine with a large drum.
24. Our tumble drier.
25. The builder who designed our sunroom with storage for drier and freezer both.
26. Sisterly love

27. Seizure medication.
28. Fresh ripe blackberries, sun-warmed.
29. CS Lewis.
30. Scented candles.



11. My new shiny gas boiler, which keeps the house so beautifully warm.
12. Benjamin Cat, who washes my chin several times each day.
13. Grolly Beast Cat, and her love of hunting leaves.
14. Autumn.
15. Double glazing, keeping the warmth in and the noises largely out.
16. Peanut butter.
17. Our lovely carer H, currently reading a story with the Little Princess.
18. My phone, which enables me to leave the house but stay connected.
19. Our Community Children's nurse, who called in this afternoon to dress a blister/sore.
20. New and lovely dressings to try out.



1. Bless the Lord  for His unfailing love for me.
2. For his Grace
3. And Mercy
4. Forgiveness
5. Kindness
6. Compassion
7. Company
8. For friends
9. And Family
10. And salted fudge brownies