An attitude of gratitude!

An attitude of gratitude!

Tuesday’s Blog rolls back the hours….
Having just spent 5 days at the NEC, preceded by 3 days in Harrogate, exhibitions are clearly on the radar, so I thought I would take a trip down memory lane…
Well, as I was starting to whine about how tired I felt this morning,
 a little voice reminded me what it used to be like, 
and I remembered that looking through a little window into the past will usually right-size any winge or niggle immediately!
So let’s go back to the NEC 10 years ago. 
I drove the van. Nay, the car with a trailer. 

I remember it well, because I hated reversing with a trailer! I was absolutely rubbish!! So I would always park up, walk ahead, to make sure I wasn’t getting myself into a pickle, where I would be expected to reverse. Total bimbo.
Nowadays, Dave drives the huge tail-lift van. I may bring the staff in another vehicle, but gone are the days when I used to have to unhook the trailer, drag it around and then rehook it to the car – just to be able to turn around! 
Believe me – it was easier and faster that way!

I unloaded.

Back then, I always wore gloves during set-up, to try and stop ripping my nails off. It never worked. You would invariably catch them on bins and crates. Don’t get me wrong! There would always be one or two others helping, but I remember always humping, carrying and dragging back and forth. 

Fit as a flea you had to be.

Nowadays, I guard the handbags, and orchestrate where to put stuff. A bad neck and back has its advantages!

I was responsible.
It was all down to me. 
The stand, stock, till, artwork, signs, demos, hotels, carparking – even shoplifters. 
There is so much involved with exhibitions! 
From childcare to insurance, and everything inbetween. 
I suppose back then, I just did it all because I had to.
Nowadays, there is a very competent Clarityteam, both back at base and at the expo with me. Whilst I still have an overview of the whole gig, most of the responsibilities are shared out between at least 10 of us! The only thing I have to do is wear the right shoes, and bring a rainhat or six!

Mail Order
When I was at the show, the office was shut. 
Nowadays, it’s business as usual when I’m away. 
In fact, I don’t think they notice whether I’m there or not!


I had an overdraft at El Banco which would make most people choke on their nachos. 
I was forever just treading water. And if I stopped paddling for even a day, I started swallowing water….
Nowadays, it’s business as usual when I’m away.

So you see, although you think I never stop, actually, 
I already have! 

And just as I sat down to write to you, just as I was about to whinge about a twinge, my Mum rang and asked me to accompany her to the hospital next week, and then Jane Crosby wrote to tell me her cancer has come back with a vengeance. 

She has asked me to share with you her blog: 
Jane’s Journey.

Much needed kick up the arse hits the spot. 
Sending love and hugs to Jane; I hope the tea party is lovely.

And I am happy to say, today, without reserve, 

much love,

59 thoughts on “An attitude of gratitude!

  1. OMGee Barbara, just read Jane's blog – I am so very sorry you are going to lose not only a precious friend but someone who sounds like a very beautiful person too.
    These days I am housebound because of the pain and many other issues and have been feeling a little down too – thank you for the kick in the rear! Time to try to start living and finding a way to deal with this damn constant pain. Sending you and Jane huge gentle hugs xx

  2. It only takes a little peek into someone else's life to make me realise how sweet I have it despite the odd twinge here and there. Glad you had a great NEC. I am pleased to be able to say I knew you back then ,at the Newbury Show, a decade or so ago, and no one would have ever guessed how hard your duck feet were paddling below the waterline. You were always fabulous. As the saying goes no one ever knows what battles other people are fighting within. I always try to remember this. So glad life is easier for you now with your amazing team around you. Long may it last..

  3. What a very courageous lady! I will be following her journey from now on. It just proves that you need to make the most of every moment with your loved ones and in your life in general. I hope your mum has good news at her appointment.
    From my experiences this week, you do have a wonderful team now to back you up. I am with you on the subject of reversing a trailer. I don't do that! Fortunately, we had an electronic motor mover fitted from new, so I can just hitch and then stand and press buttons to site wherever I want. You can also just place a hand on one of the grab handles and pretend to be pushing it all on your own. Looks impressive to strangers. If I decide I can manage it on my own, I shall think about doing a Caravan Club handling course to give me more confidence.
    Hope you find your neck improves with a little rest xxx Maggie

    1. Maggie, I am laughing just picturing you making out you are pushing the caravan all on your own in front of strangers. Having seen my parent's caravan in action with a mover, makes me wish we had one on ours. I think you should just go for it Maggie and do a caravan handling course. x

  4. It's good to realise that however we feel there are always others who have worse problems to contend with. With age comes experience, and a bit more understanding, but age also tends to bring us a few more health problems, and for some of us major health problems like Jane. It always seems so unfair. Thanks for the insights in to your business, and how things have changed over the last ten years. Yours has been a success story, and long may it be so. x

  5. Ahh , welcome to the world of the night owls lol!
    I was a little thrown as I was logging in to read Mondays blog and found Tuesdays already here and was thinking even I can not loose a day lol!
    I am sorry to hear you have had some bad news ,but good luck with the battle Jane .
    I also hope your mums trip to the hospital goes okay .
    Glad the show went well and think your small moan may have been deserved as a bad back and neck is not fun ! However I get your sentiment at the looking at how things really are and then being grateful .
    Have a good nights sleep and here's to Wednesday lol!

  6. Lol I am laughing at your parking that is so funny. I was a Driving Instructor before falling ill, so I really do like to have a giggle with people over there parking stories, but still want to help you with it lol sorry I couldn't help the instructor side come out. You have cheered me up. I have just read Janes blog and I have never known someone as brave. What a remarkable lady who helps put things into perspective. No wonder you gave your self a swift kick. But you must allow yourself to be tired and time for your batteries to recharge a little at least. I hope you can sleep after your busy couple of weeks (something I fail miserably at is sleep). But like you I don't allow the wallowing as there is always someone with a bigger fight out there than myself and this keeps me smiling. I hope you rest well Barb and I look forward to your next blog x

  7. Today's blog really shows how far you have come. Your parking with the trailer reminds me of hubby reversing to try to park the caravan. He is getting better, with practice, but it is confusing having to turn the wheel the opposite way. And a few times we have just had to unhook the caravan and push it into place, particularly on the sites where the caravan has to be just in a certain spot within the pitch.

    I seem to find just as I am feeling sorry for myself, something happens that puts everything in perspective. Hope your mum's appointment goes ok next week. And as for Jane…what a brave and amazing lady. Such a great, positive and inspiring attitude to have. I will definitely keep reading her blog now.

  8. Hello Barb, Well your tales of the past certainly raise a smile and a laugh and how great that you have a solid team who can now be there with you all the way – Directing manoeuvres being just as important as the shifting lifting and parking! Thank you for sharing Janes Journey blog …. what an uplifting read about what is tragic circumstances….. there is always a check and balance in life for ourselves having a whinge about a niggly pain …. and this one is it…so again thank you and Jane if you are reading any of these replies…good luck with doing those things that are important for you…I hope you English Tea Party goes well and that you celebrate your life and those of your closest friends – remembering the good and happy times is I believe a road for recovery for those left behind…I am sure your friends and family will look back at what you achieve in the coming months and be happy that you did what you wanted to do…use that lovely crafting stash and leave them each a small part of you. Barb…back to you, your Mum….stand with her through that hospital visit – the strength you give being the most important gift you can give.
    Much love to you and your Mum and of course to Jane xx

  9. Hi Barb, what a giggle reading the beginning of the blog, I can just imagine you in the Hi-vis vest. I Jane's blog, wow what an incredibly courageous woman, I don't know how I would deal with the same situation. We all get down, and find things hard to cope with, but I hope having read her blog that it will give me a swift kick up the … . You do need to rest Barb, especially with your neck and back and after a long 5 days, so don't be hard on yourself, I find you a great inspiration with your outlook on life. I hope your Mums appointment goes well, been doing a few of those lately myself. And I hope and pray that Jane has strength through her battle. Bx

  10. Here here Barbara. Yesterday I moaned I didn't have enough time to do all the things I want to do. After a night with friends I am grateful again I can do all the things I want to do! Nikki xx

  11. Certainly makes you thankful for what you have! Yes I have aches n pains, moans and groans but my goodness compared to others I'm lucky so I'm thankful for my lot! Wishing everyone out there good things x

  12. What food for thought your blog has given me! Between this and an article I read in yesterday' s Daily Mail where two children were used in an experiment to see what would happen if they appeared lost in a shopping centre, it has really got me thinking. only one lady out of about 600 people stopped to see.if they were OK. I will read Jane's blog when I get into work and hope everything goes well with your Mum's appointment.

    1. I think that there has been so much publicity about things like the Jimmy Savill affair, and the fact that you now dare not to put your arm around a crying child without being in a position of being accused of doing bad thing -it will put people off coming to the rescue. It is a sad state of affairs and goes against all instincts. xxx

  13. Hello Barbara, this is Roz from Colemans. Thank you for all the help you gave my friend and I last Friday.

    I have read Jane's blog and can relate to it. My beautiful 47 year old daughter-in-law is reaching the end of her life after an eight year battle with an aggressive brain tumour. When she was diagnosed the average lifespan was 18 months. A new drug and a very positive attitude has got her this far. Unfortunately both have stopped working.

    Good luck to you and your Mum with her appointment. And take care of yourself.

  14. Thank you for sharing your story. It is sometimes easy to forget how lucky we are until you realise the struggles that some people have to go through every single day and there is always someone in a much more diifficult place
    Good luck to you and your mum with her appointment x

  15. I can relate to that totally. When I was starting up my own floristry business it was tough & good days or bad you stand alone, but WOW what a feeling when the rush hits & it takes off ! Loved every minute. There are lots of people out there who have a fight on their hands on a daily basis & I feel so lucky for what I have. I look at my son every day who, in the beginning, fought just to be here & when I'm having a rough day I realise that it's not rough really. Lots of kind thoughts to your friend

  16. Hi Barb,
    I have had a few chuckles reading the start of the blog today thinking of you trying to reverse the trailer. My husband was just like that with the caravan but ok now. Once when we had unhitched the caravan and pushed it to where we wanted to site it, he asked me to get something in the van, stupid me forgot there were no steadies down and even the jockey wheel was not tight. Next thing I knew the caravan was at a 45 degree angle! How stupid I felt!! I've also read Jane' s blog and agree with everyone that she is a brave and courageous lady. Hope your mum's appointment goes well. Love & hugs to everyone especially you,your mum and Jane. Love Alison xx

  17. Hi Barbara. I have a friend who introduced me to crafting many years ago. She used to be on a stand at the SECC and sometimes the NEC, and she was the one who got me interested in you and your techniques. She told me that many of the demonstrators were a bit high and mighty, but that you had seen her struggling with a load of boxes and had stopped to help, and that you were so down to earth, despite the fact that you had invented clear stamps!!!! That really warmed me to you, away back then. It's good that you are now reaping the rewards for all your hard work, but you still manage to maintain a balance view of life, and the important things in life, like your family.
    Your mum will appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to be with her at her appointment. I haven't read Jane's blog yet but I too have a good friend battling cancer, they seem to stay so positive, is their close family you need to support, as they seem to be the ones who need it more than the person who is ill. Thank you for taking the time to give us your blog every day. It is much appreciated.

  18. What an amazing woman you are!!! Hopefully now you have a team to support you, and therefore have more time for your loved ones and friends. So just take it easy when you can, and let your team taking care of us. xx

  19. Its always good to take time to reflect – there are usually things about our lives that niggle us but its good to look back or look around to help us remember how lucky we are! Big hugs to you barb and best wishes to Jane – bless her! Hugs rachel x

  20. I love reading your blog every morning. It is good be reminded that life is precious and should be cherished while we can. Remembering the good times helps to get through tougher times. I will be keeping Jane and her family as well as your Mum and your family in my prayers.

  21. Arr Barbara lovely story i can relate to it ,we do flower shows in summer we have our van ,started off with car and trailer then dad bought us a van which we converted for sleeping in but 3 years ago someone liked it better then we did they niked it!! was found but insurance scraped it we got anouther van but not as long as our iveco so as we sleep in it he converted sleeping on plant trollys and thats what we still do take all our food or we have barbique on site we did get a caravan a cupple years ago but he will not take it cause was told that u not aloud to tow caravan and have goods in van u have to get a tachograph if you do that so still sleeping on plant trolleys do have a board on it now as i told him not sleeping on trolleys without something and we do have some old caravan mattresses on top but its very low not good to get up on
    Hope your Mums hospital visit is ok and she is fine ,sorry about Jane sending my best wishes to her,i just read her blog Cancer isnt very nice
    Love Pauline xxx

  22. Barb, so glad you can look on life in a positive way, even if you have to go back to be able to count your blessings. My sympathies to Jane, I do hope she can beat the so and so. (insert bad words there).

  23. Always get a chuckle out of reading your blog Barbara, times were hard back then but you persevered and made it. Hope your mum goes on okay next week so sorry to hear about Jane

  24. Morning Barbara,
    It's lovely to reflect on the past and know it's changed for the better.
    Sympathies with Jane, as Cancer isn't nice and you just have to keep fighting it we have no choice.
    Hope your Mum's okay as well
    Lorna D

  25. I love reading your blog Barbara, and it's so true that a little reflection helps us all. I'm so glad you persevered and got to where you are today. I do hope the hospital appointment goes well for your Mum. Sorry to hear about Jane and will keep her in my prayers. xx

  26. Thanks for sharing your journey Barbara and reminding us to count ourselves lucky everyday on so many fronts, despite those little niggles! I was at one of your Cowden workshops just after your mum was diagnosed and still have the little bag charm – in fact I got one for all the girls who were in my team at the time as you wanted to keep her busy and her mind off those hospital visits! Hope her appointment goes well.
    Your friend's story reminded me too much of my own friend Kathy who is battling a recurrence of her bowel cancer – again diagnosed late due to medical staff not picking up cues they should have seen. She remains so positive despite all the pain and horrible treatment. I hope we can all take some inspiration from Jane's story and get some of those long-standing craft projects completed whilst we can – my spring jumper from 2 years ago might just make it for this year!! Susan x

  27. A trip down memory lane puts everything in perspective doesn't it? Love your positive 'can do' attitude – that is what has got you where you are today. I hope your mum's hospital appointment goes OK. I remember going to your first Sedgefield workshop and you were telling us all about your mum's battle with breast cancer. I hadn't long lost my mum at the time & I was sobbing as you were telling us – mum's are so very precious. Pat x

  28. Love reading your blog sometimes we laugh and sometimes it makes you think. Enjoy life while you can, you don't whats in front of you. Best wishes to your friend Jane and hugs to everyone that needs one.

  29. I loved reading your post today, it made me thankful for what I have, problems and all! It's difficult to feel positive at the mo cause my hubby and I are both struggling with health problems but it could be worse! So thank you for making me think! xx

  30. Barbara your post today was very thought provoking as a trip down memory lane often is, it made me realise how much I have to be thankful for despite the health issues which thankfully will improve.
    Thank you for sharing and your pictures made me smile too
    Jackie x

  31. Hi Barbara
    I'm so glad that thanks to all your hard work and talent things have become easier and now you can delegate thanks to having a great team behind you ( though it still sounds like a hard slog). I've just read your friend Jane's story and must admit to mixed emotions, firstly of course her great courage and energy, but I did feel anger too at her misdiagnosis all those years ago. My lovely sister is undergoing chemo for breast cancer, she has spen the last 6 days in hospital and has decided not to jave the last dose of chemo, she like Jane worries that if the treatment isn't successful them she has lost so much time throwing up etc., and though I couldn't begin to understand how either of them feel I do understand where Jane is coming from in that respect. It can be difficult for friends and family , often feeling so limited in what we can do, I've learned that really listening to what "they" need is important regardless of how we feel about it, and being there even if it's just at the end of a phone is what it's about, the rest of the time it's about normality. I will read Jane's blog every day, she is an inspiration, as are you. I hope your mums appt goes well. Look after yourself and take time to recharge your batteries. Best wishes to all. xx

  32. Life and perspective, happy and sad… We ride the wave being scared and sometimes brave, sometimes calm seas and sometimes rough. Looking back to learn and to the future with hope. I hope your friend Jane and your wonderful Mother find calm pools on their paths x. Love to you all x

    1. Beautifully put, Mandy. You really struck a whole orchestra of chords there. This year has been a real roller coaster. If I stop to think, I am scared witless at what I am having to take on by myself. Family and friends and good memories are what keep me going. A few more calm pool would come in handy. (I did get one on Thursday, sitting down quietly in the corner, just chatting to Barbara). Reading Jane's story last night filled me with admiration for a very strong and courageous lady, and I hope she succeeds in doing all the things she has planned. xx Maggie

    2. I'm glad you found a calm pool Maggie, we all need one to dip our toes in one from time to time (and I think I might well have dipped my toes, more than once, in that calm pool this weekend – even my niece had a paddle!) xxx

  33. Your blog today brings tears to my eyes as well as a smile to my face life is a journey it's my mums anniversary passing today 21 years still miss that hug memories .sending a big crafting hug to all xxx

  34. Barb -I cannot put my words any better than the blog above mine. the tears and smiles of your beautiful words and the desperate hope that your friend wins her battle.

  35. Barbara,
    Jane's blog was inspirational and I hope her tea is a fun event for everyone, a reflection on how precious each day is for all of us. Best to your mom and her appt. I know she will appreciate you being there, you are a joy.

  36. Glad to know all went well at the NEC. Hope you're mum's appt goes well also. Loved reading this post, made me smile. Always good to look back and reflect and then be thankful. Hope to see you at BSSBS – Ally Pally next month 🙂 Much love xxx

  37. Thank you for the link to Jane's blog – certainly puts a lot of things into perspective. I've always thought it a good idea to have the wake beforehand …. Great words Amanda. x

  38. glad that everything is right with you. hope all will be well with Mutti at the hospital.Sorry to hear about jane, seding as much positive vibes as i can muster. hugs xx

  39. What a thoughtful blog today. You deserve your success you have put a lot of hard work into getting there, sometimes people don't always think about the long years of hard work that have gone into making a successful company. Made me smile thinking of you with that trailer, I would be useless, parallel parking is bad enough for me. I have read Jane's blog, such an inspiration and she is being very brave. I shall carry on reading her journey. My husband not well at moment but not life threatening just limits what we can plan to do, but makes me realise that we are lucky really. I hope your mum's appointment goes well. Hugs to you all Lynne xx

  40. So glad you have such a lovely supportive team to help you now. We bought a little caravan in october and plan to go on our first adventure soon so I'll be having to learn how to manoeuvre it…may also be pushing it about and very scared of damaging it. I'll be reading Jane's blog later but she sounds like a wonderful, inspirational lady. Xxx

  41. Hi Barbara. We are all allowed to have a whinge now and then, I think it is healthy to let it all out, BUT only occasionally and never for too long, because as you rightly point out there are others far worse off. I will be following Janes blog, she sounds like a wonderful lady.
    I totally get where you are coming from about reversing trailers. I will happily drive any vehicle (one day I will get to drive a tank!) but I have never mastered reversing trailers. I swear they suddenly get a mind of their own as soon as the reversing lights go on, don't they! : ) Glad you are in a better place than you were first thing. Take care.

  42. Brilliant Blog as usual Barbara and you are allowed a whinge now and again you know, it sometimes helps to get it out and then when you have and in turn think of those worse off than a lot of us it does make you count your blessings ! I love Tuesday's blog and Friday too but all of the blogs a great, you always manage to bring a smile to my face everyday with my dail fix of Barb's Blog !! Thank you
    I will read Jane's blog and wish her the very best in her fight against the dreaded big C, trouble is it always seems to hit those who deserve it least of all …..

  43. Well it's hard to find the words after reading your poor friend Jane's blog. My heart goes out to her, it was so beautifully written and compelling to read although a box of tissues were needed. We had a very scary time 18months ago when my husband was taken poorly, after having a blood test and an ultra sound scan we received a phone call to say go straight to the hospital, don't delay as it's not looking good! On arriving the Drs made it very clear they thought he had the big C and were trying to tell us that they hoped they could treat him. After a bone marrow biopsy and loads of other tests they weren't quite so sure, and then he was referred to 2 London Hospitals and then after 6 weeks of hell they diagnosed a very rare blood disorder. This has reaped havoc on his spleen, liver and bones over the years as it had gone undetected, so he is now on infusion treatment for the rest of his life as there is no cure. He is not a well man now and things probably won't improve but we think ourselves very lucky as things ended much better than it was first thought. We might not be able to do the things we had always planned on doing but we can now think up some new ones, which is half of the fun. Jane x

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