B -DAY PLUS 117

SATURDAY JUNE 25TH

A wonderful lazy day in Cornwall.  One of the lovely things about being with old friends is that nobody has to try very hard to entertain or be entertained.   Challenges of chess and Scrabble kept us very happy indeed during the morning, just a simple tasting of the local ale at a waterside pub at lunchtime and one od Sue ‘s marvellous meals during the late afternoon took care of the day.

Then we piled on the jumpers and set off for the town centre to DSC_0277enjoy the Jools Holland concert.  We were so pleased that we had chairs, and a reasonable view.  Purdey opened the concert and was brilliant, but when Jools came on, it was as if someone had upped the DSC_0280amps a thousant percent.   He was so full of energy…… and SO much talent! I looked around at our Decrepit ‘s Den towards the end, and just about everybody was on their feet jigging about to the music. W One very old wheelchair lady was even on her legs, clinging onto the barrier and dancing with the only part of her anatomy that had any fluidity, – her fingers!

DSC_0282It was a fantasic evening,  and we owe Mike big thanks for thinking of it and booking it up.  I was a bit sad to cut the wristband off as I went to bed.

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FRIDAY JUNE 24 TH

The results of the European referendum!

Rod had been up all night.  I was conscious that he did come to bed about three o ‘clock, but then twenty minutes later, up he got and went back to the Tele..  I personally just can ‘t get excited about these Tele programmes that are constant “what if “, but he just can ‘t get enough.

Anyway, perhaps his support worked, because he got what he wanted, –  a vote for Britain to come out of the EU..  About 48% in and 52% out.  This is going to cause all manner of excitements for Mr Waspe over the next few months.  At breakfast time David Cameron announced his intention to resign, and Facebook today is full of posts from ex-pats worried about what will happen to their everyday life.  We shall see.   There are a miriad of things to sort out, – healthcare,  pensions, etc..  Then there are issues like the border between northern Ireland and Eire.

Dragging Rod away from the Tele news, we all set off to walk into Falmouth, a journey which Mike and Sue reckon is about half an hour.  It was a very nice walk indeed, along by the river ( but looking down on it,  not close to it).  Rod suffered with his painful joints, but made it to the end on about an hour through sheer determination.  Our aim was to get to the site of the concert on Saturday and find out whether it would be possible to get seats.  I really felt that I would never last the course as one of a couple of thousand standing in the limited space that was the events centre in Falmouth. We found a very helpful man there who took a lot of time from his venue preparation to explain that there would be abou fifty disabled seats available if we cared to phone up about them.  Great!   We ordered coffees from the cafe on site and phoned up, only to be told that an email was necessary.

Sure enough, I had an immediate answer to my email with the primise of four seats for the concert.  How nice people can be if you approach them nicely!

DSC_0272jAfter lunch, we all went to the vineyard in Camelford to take part in one of their daily tours.  It was a glorious area of Cornwall, and it was not hard to believe that the climate was conducive to wine production.  One thing the guide said really stuck in my mind.  He said that the climate in that area today was equal to that of the Champagne region fifty years ago.  Comments like that make me wish I had my lovely big computer to research this aspect of climate change!

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After inspecting the fields of vines, the guide gave us a very interesting talk about the production of wine and Champagne. It was all very impressive, and the taste we were all treated with was delicious.  These people have won aa lot of awards for their wines, and the owner himself has won the prize for the UK ‘s best winemaker about four times.

But the excitement did not end there!  Later we met some of Mike ‘s friends in the pub , and Rod was delighted to find that they were just as passionate as he was about the referendum.  After that…..   We haven ‘t finished yet…..  We went to Rick Stein ‘s fish and chip cafe in Falmouth for marvellous cod and chips.

Once back home, Rod was asleep on his legs, so the day ended on a lovely note.   More fun and glee to look forward to tomorrow!

B -DAY PLUS 115

THURSDAY JUNE 23 RD. –  REFERENDUM DAY!

Most of the day we were sitting in the car, travelling down to visit Mike and Sue in Falmouth.  The satnav told us that it would be five and a half hours, but the roads were pretty congested as far as Bristol, so it was actually a bit longer.

It is always a treat for us to be able to listen to the radio in the car, as of course in Spain, although it is possible to listen to local radio in English, the reception is so flaky as to make this too unpleasant to lelax into.  It was a bit odd though.  Today is voting Day for the referendum for leaving or remaining in the European Community, and there was a ban on broadcasting any canvassing.  So all we were hearing was the information that it was voting Day!   There were tremendous storms in the South West aand some underground stations in London were flooded out.  Because of this, they took the unprecidented step of allowing pollong stations affected by floods to stay open an extra hour in the evening.

We were also repeatedly told that this was only the third referendum in British history,  The first was forty one years ago,  to be official members of the Common Market after Ted Heath had taken the country into it, and the second was just a few years ago, for replacing our voting system with one od peoportional representation.

It was about six o ‘clock when we arrived at Mike and Sue ‘s New DSC_0267

house on the water in Falmouth.  There was Sue, waiting on the side of the road to make sure we get to the right house.  How kind! This is pur hire car sitting outside the front door.

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A whole flock of swans seems to be in permanent residence outside their Windows!

As we were admiring the new house, we were treated to champagne!

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So it’s been a funny old Day.  A very long journey, but a lovely ending with one of Sue ‘s excellent meals.

The results of the referendum will begin at ten o ‘clock, so Rod settled down for a long night.

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WEDNESDAY JUNE 22 ND.

A lovely Day spent with Shirley and Dave in the Potteries.  Looking out of the bedroom window early in the morning, I was very proud to see my tree soaring into the sky.  I bought and planted this tree when we lived next door but one to the Rowleys, round about 1976.

DSC_0261I got it from the local nursery, Lindop ‘s, and one rainy day Rod and I struggled to dig a big hole and plant it.

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The house we lived in is to the right of this picture, and just look at that wonderful Beech bark, just exactly as I imagined it was going to be.  I hope that over the years, my tree has contributed some healthy gasses to the environment. I reckon it has probably absorbed about half a tonne of carbon dioxide by now.///::/

After a wonderful breakfast of suasages, bacon, tomatoes, etc., Rod and I took a little walk to say hello to our old neighbours, Gordon and Josie.  We have very precious memories of our time living next door to these very caring Geordies, and all the holidays and Christmases we spent together.  Gordon has not been well over the last three years, and has ended up with a titanium spine and a replacement hip.   A TITANIUM SPINE ! Imagine!   What amazingly lucky people we are to have such medical facilities to hand.

With all this going on, it was about eleven o ‘clock by the time we got out and headed for Trentham Gardens.  When we lived here, this was no more than a stately home which had outlived its heyday, and which had a lake you could walk around.  These days, there is a shopping experience on the site with some 60  interesting little shops, and they have landscaped the grounds, making them beautiful enough to charge us £8.75 each to walk around.  There is even a monkey enclosure, housing 140 monkeys in open woodland, for another few pounds.

I loved the walk.  It was only a couple of miles long, but the vegetation was spectacular, melding cultivated and wild flowers into wonderful displays.  At Times there were even sculpted tree trunks.  Where w big tree had died, the standing stump had been cleverly sculpted into animals and insects.___

DSC_0263Shirley and I had a lot of fun on the Fairy Trail, using the map provided to locate fifteen different two -foot high fairies,  worked in steel.  Having found them, we qualified for a sticker!

DSC_0262(I have yet to learn the art of cropping on this little tablet, so please just look at the round sticker here – it’s stuck on the cover of my notepad to keep it safe FOR EVER !)

A lot of thought and work has gone into making this a lovely experience, and they seem to have a lot more plans.  All power to their elbows!

 

 

B -DAY PLUS 113

TUESDAY JUNE 21ST

We were visited at 7 o ‘clock as usual by Noah and Imi.  It’sreally nice that they have never lost the habit of coming into our bedroom early in the morning to see us.  When they were small, it would often be as early as six o ‘clock , and they would be armed with books to be explored.  These days,  it’s more of a fleeting visit, but welcome none the less. We were prepared for them this morning, as we had learned that both of them were saving to buy the latest electronic gadgetry and were both £20 short of their target.  So we did another grandparently thing and gave them both a crisp £20 note, at which we got a very nice Thankyou and they both scuttled off.

We then realised that, having seven granchildren which all have to be treated equally, this is going to be an expensive operation! It brought it home yet again, that we live in a contented bubble in Spain where we are our own masters and we can pass ideallic days without spending very much at all.  Every time we come to the UK we are shocked by how much we spend, and by the clever way we are urged to buy, buy, buy!   We miss our family hugely, so it’s good to treat them, but we have to psych ourselves up for such a different lifestyle.

It was another travelling day, but we had a morning to ourselves.  Once the packing was done, we loaded the car and set off for Milton Keynes to see whether Rod could find a pair of jeans to buy.  Tryph told us about a shopping centre she goes to instead of doing battle in the huge centre, with its crowded and expensive car parks.

We found the centre easily, right next door to the MK Dons football. Stadium.  How easy!    Just a line of shops – M &S, H&M, River Island, Top Shop, Primark, etc, and a line of everyday restaurants.  Rod had quickly exhausted them, found nothing and was ready to sit outside on a bench with his Kindle, whilst I persevered and did manage to get some jeans.

Tryph joined us for lunch at Nando ‘s.  Nando ‘s chain has only been in the UK for a few years, so we had never tried it.  We ordered a plate of chicken and chips to share, with a salad which was mainly leaves and bottomless soft drinks, and it all came to about £12 each.   You could have got a banquet in Spain for that!   We enjoyed spending time with Tryph, before she had to rush off to collect the children and we had to begin our long trek northwards to visist Shirley and Dave in Woore.

The motorway was full, so we had to practise our patience for the three hours it took to get to Woore.  Shirley and Dave always give us a wonderful welcome, and we always remember what good friends they have been in all the 40-odd years we have known them.

We were soon sitting down to a delicious meal, having already emptied a couple of bottles of wine!  What a good life!

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I am always impressed with Shirley ‘s beautiful dining table, it is so elegant, with only the best crystal and China.  My own style always turns into what can only be described as rustic, so I always enjoy the contrast of this fine dining!   She has a new aquisition now…..

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Home -made scones with clotted cream and fresh fruit!   Mmmmmm!   All seved on a three -tiered cake stand.

We are getting close to the referendum now.  Rod can ‘t contain his excitement about the voting on the 23rd, And was amazed and delighted to see that Dave has stuck a “Leave the EU ” poster in his window. As soon as the meal was over, he asked permission to watch a live debate on the Tele!   It’s lucky that the Rowleys ARE such good old friends and kindly let Rod do this unsociable thing!

 

B -DAY PLUS 112

MONDAY JUNE 20TH

The house was emptied by half past eight, apart from Mike, who works from home on a Monday and was involved in a works conference call at half past nine.

Rod and I walked through the rain into the town and bought ourselves a coffee in The Fireside.   We have begun to get used to the disappointment of coffee here in the UK..  We have been quite spoilt in Spain, where the coffee is good and strong, and comparatively cheap into the bargain.  At home, we can get a really good coffee for between a Euro and one Euro fifty cents, whereas here we pay about two pounds fifty or three pounds fifty for something often horrible.  But it was fairly hot and reviving, and the cafe gave us shelter from the driving rain.

Rod was feeling as if he had had enough of walking, so toddled off home, while I had a nice time combing the many charity shops in Buckingham.  Three books bought, for one ninety -nine each, and a very happy GrannieJazz ploughed her way home with another bag full of ingredients to make a fish pie for lunch.

We were lucky enough to be allowed to collect the children from school !  Thank goodness they have grown past the age when they insisted on having Mummy collect them,  and they greeted us with big smiles.  We were pathetically grateful …… We must have morphed into typical Grandparents somewhere along the line!

We seem to have started a tradition of taking them to the ice -cream parlour on our last day with them, so off we went to exert our grandparently privelege of spending an inordinate amount on ice -creams . All good fun.

DSC_0254At home once more, Imi went off to Brownies, while Tryph got her jewelery -making kit out to make me an ear-ring.  When it was my birthday, she had made me a few lovely pieces of jewelery, one of which was a pair of ear -rings with chrysocolla beads.  I put them on at once, on my actual birthday, but it was a wet and windy day and somewhere along the line the collar of my coat and the wind conspired together to work one of them out and it disappeared.  Tryph is getting quite an expert now in producing professional pieces, and made another matching ear -ring in a blink of an eye.

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As soon as dinner was over, Rod, Noah and Mike ran upstairs to watch the football match.  England versus Russia as part of the European Cup.  Tryph and I went out for a long walk around Buckingham and really enjoyed the exercise.

All too soon, our last full day with the Fosters came to an end.  Boo Hoo.

B -DAY PLUS 111

FATHERS DAY!

Rod was very pleased with his bag of specialist cheeses for Father ‘s Day, and at the breakfast table was also presented with some delicious -looking pots of whiskey jam and marmelade from Tryph and a novelty pen from Lex.  His Day was complete, when also
presented with a Full English breakfast cooked by Tryph.DSC_0250But NO, there were more treats to come.  Noah had been practising his guitar playing for a special concert specially for us.  He was brilliant, and as a very proud grandparent, I am allowed to say that!

DSC_0252Imi was not to be out -done, and performed a song for us, with actions, all about a little old man.  It was all good fun, and as soon as it was over, it was time to repair to The Woolpack for a special Fathers Day tipple.  Once home again, the two Dads disappeared while the Memsahibs prepared the lunch, after which we had a glorious evening of cards before bedtime.

 

A good Day.

 

 

B -DAY PLUS 110

SATURDAY

Woke up to yet more rain, but we are off on our travels again today,- to Tryph and Mike ‘s house in Buckinham, two and a half hours away.  As we are not expected until 5 o ‘clock, and we are in dire need of clothes for an English June, we decided to call in at a shopping centre on the way, to see what we could find.

Rod immediately found himself a pair of shorts and a raincoat ( English June!),  and I found a pair of light trousers and a fleece.   Sorted!

We were given a lovely warm welcome at the Foster ‘s, as always!   We seemed to go in, sit at the dining table, in the kitchen /diner, and stay there until bedtime!  Wonderful!

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B -DAY PLUS 109

FRIDAY

Off we go again!

We are off this morning to Nick ‘s house at Allenbury near Hereford.  It was an awful journey, fighting with armies of cars and coaches until we finally got there for a late lunch.  I say “lunch “, but it would be more acurate to describe it as a feast!   I am indeed lucky to have such a hospitable brother.  He has been working on the new house for months now, and has tiled floors, installed bathrooms and hung doors all day every day, with Yvonne doing all the painting, rubbing down and gardening.   What a task!  Every single door is to be replaced,  21 in all, with the accompanying archetraves and skirting boards.  The staircase has been replaced with one of bare raw wood, which Yvonne has smoothed and stained. She was pleased to get a boilersuit for Christmas, and had now complemented it by the purchase of a scaffolding contraption for herself.

DSC_0236All in all it has been an amazing feat, and there is still a long way to go, but already the house has a wonderful friendly and calm feel about it.  It will be spectacular.  Yvonne ‘s vegetable garden is chock -full of produce, and just outside the big Windows in the kitchen /diner, birds flock to the feeder, including every tit in the book, woodpeckers and  a pheasant, while rabbits and squirrels cavort about the lawn.  How ideallic is that?

The day passed quickly, with plenty more food and wine and happy conversation.

Back in February, in this blog, I happened to mention my memoriesnof Nick ‘s thick wavy hair back when he was a lad. I said then that I hadn ‘t seen his hair since 1974, when he took a scalpel to it and adopted a style of bristle.  Having read this and taken it as a challenge, he has let the hair grow ever since then, and the change in his appearance is astounding !   It’s marvellous!   I am going to put a BIG picture of it here, as I rather suspect that it will soon all be off again.  But while he still has a very distinguished look about him, here he is…

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B -DAY PLUS 107

WANDERING WEDNESDAY

The start of another trip away today, so I am back to using my little tablet for this diary blog….  and that ‘s never easy!

We left home at midday, in the searing heat, drove to Alicante Airport and hopped on Ryanair for the journey to Bristol.  The usual blend of screaming babies and Benidorm holidaymakers were making their back to England with us, and the cramped uncomfortable seats brought tears to my eyes (literally), but soon we were landing in cold and wet Bristol.  The car hire went smoothly, and soon a bright red Ford Fiesta was ours for the sojourn, and we were bowling down the road to Devon.

We are always taken aback by the lush green countryside, but shouldn’t be, since every time we have been this way it has rained.  Eighteen months ago we invested in a lodge situated in a park in Dunkeswell, Devon.  Dunkeswell is a delightful small village in the Blackdown Hills near Honiton which has a busy private airfield,  popular at weekends for flying, parachuting or skydiving courses. We are very pleased with the purchase, as the lodge has been let out to holidaymakers for a vast amount of these eighteen months, DSC_0230yet still has the appearance of being new. For the first year, the terms of our contract with the park people meant that we couldn’t use it at peak times, so we only came in the winter or early spring, and have still to see it in sunshine! They tell us that the area is one of spectacular scenery, but all we have seen in low cloud and heavy rain.   This is why we have come to it in June this year.  We have great hopes.

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