Saturday, 28 January 2017

Other October occasions

We had a week of catching up at home, then our Son and family arrived bringing Tom to stay with us. They were off to the south of France for 2 weeks, and our Daughter and family were joining them for the half term week. They were only here for a short while, but long enough for Elise to demonstrate her crawling skills.
So we spent some time walking Tom, we celebrated Lydia's 4th Bithday, where did that time go?
I'd had a letter from the G P, so had to go and see her. Apparently my cholesterol is good, not high, but when it is factored in with my age, BP problems, weight etc my risk is now much higher than it was 10 years ago. I told her I didn't want to try statins, they made my father in law very ill when he had them, so in the end she agreed I could repeat the test in about 3 months. However, I have to stay on the hated beta blockers. Meanwhile I struggle to lose weight as they slow my metabolism, and I did read that they increase blood fats!!

Lydia's birthday cake
At last I got round to making my Christmas cake, I stayed up late till it finished cooking, and Tom kept me company. We took him to the Garden centre, and Coombe Hill, but he must have picked something up somewhere as he was sick several times including in the car.
We had eaten outside the cafe, there was water for dogs but it was a bit manky. However when we got to Coombe hill he was fine, but we had forgotten the ball. nevertheless he had a good run and lots of sniffing.

Autumn colours at Coombe Hill 

We had to put him back on the lead because of other dogs, but he seemed to enjoy the run. I contacted our Son, and on his instructions, Tom was only allowed cooled boiled rice for Dinner.
The family returned home at different times, our Son and his family stayed over on the Saturday. I had booked the local carvery for the Sunday, as we can't all fit round my table. It was better in that the children  didn't have to wait for their meal.
Then we went back to our Daughter's for dessert, and I attempted to get a picture of all 4 Grandchildren to put in Mum in Law's Christmas stocking, Ha! All I can say is that I take my hat off to professional photographers! No one would keep still, Elise yelled, in the end I abandoned the attempt. I knew there would be one more occasion when I could try.
Soon it was time for our Son and his family to depart for Cheshire, so we said our goodbyes.
However the busy month wasn't quite over, on the last day we packed our cases and went to visit Mum in Law I took the usual food with us, so she doesn't have to cook, and husband had contributed a lasagne! We had a good journey down there, stopping at Pease Pottage and having lunch sitting in the car. She was pleased to see us, and I helped by making up the bed. Did I mention her diagnosis? she has mild Alzheimer's, which we suspected from the loss of words and the strange conersations. Although we suspect there may be an element of deafness to which she will not admit.

October Outings

Well as I'm so far behind again I'd better get stuck right in. We arrived quite late at our rented property, at the end of September. It was somewhere we hadn't stayed before, a house that was attached to the owner's house. It transpired that the original owner had elderly parents, so he'd had his garage turned into a 2 storey extension, with 2 bedrooms. There are grab rails etc, but the new owners had removed the stair lift. They hadn't realised that we were taking bikes, so he put ours in with his till he could clear the shed of lawn mower and other things.
The bed was surprisingly comfortable, and the mattress topper not needed. On the Saturday it was raining so we drove over to Prestatyn and had a mooch around the shops there. This time we had lunch in M&S. We visited my sister in the evening.
The next day was Sunday, and we were able to walk to the little chapel in Rhuddlan. We chatted to the pastor's wife, and it transpired that she knew the people whose house we were renting. She said it would be a talking point when she next met the young Mum.
We spent the afternoon and evening with my sister, my niece had come over to visit, so we caught up with the news. Then we watched an episode of Poldark, I gave my niece a lift home to her house.
On the Monday we went into Rhyl for a look around, and for husband to get his hair cut. We met up and went to our usual cafe. I had a lovely Italian fish stew, and husband his usual lasagne.
We drove back to the house, collected our bikes, and set off down the country lane to see how far we could get. We passed the farm and continued down the narrow bit. It wasn't too bad though we got twigs in our faces, and clouds of flies rising up. We made it to the bottom, and were rewarded with lovely tarmacked cycle paths. We rode to my sister's to show her our bikes and report that we had made it down 'Gypsy lane'. Trouble is we had to ride back, and it was a bit of a hill. I only had to get off and walk once though.
On the  Tuesday, in the morning, we made our way to the 'Cob' in Rhuddlan, then we had a lovely flat ride towards Rhyl Harbour, the path actually stops before the railway line. On the way back, the cows were on the path. I was a bit nervous of being so close, but husband managed the gates, and we got through without any escaping. After a short break, we got into the car and drove over to Llandudno, arriving in time for lunch at the Cottage Loaf. This time husband had fish and chips and I had a goat's cheese panini.
Cows on the river bank

Almost there
Afterwards we did our usual tour of the shops, starting at Roberts' shoe shop for me. I don't think I actually bought anything, and husband resisted temptation in the kitchen shop. We had a leisurely drive back, and a light meal before spending the evening as usual with my sister.
I didn't feel in the mood for visiting Chester, so had a browse on the National Trust webpage, deciding on Conwy. After an excellent lunch at the Pressroom, I've forgotten the details, we visited the old suspension bridge, including the toll cottage. We also went to Aberconwy house, an old merchant's house with a fascinating history. Following this we walked down to the harbour, then up via the kitchen shop, which has moved, then up and over the railway back to the car.
Toll house

tides cafe

On the Thursday, in the morning I bought flowers and visited my parents' grave. Aparently the cemetery is pretty full now, so more land will be required soon. Unfortunately the ground there gets very wet and boggy at times.
Then later, we got the bikes out, and rode round the bounds, then over the H bridge, up to the promenade and on to Llandulas, where we stopped for lunch at The Tides as before.  Husband had soup, I had a Coronation chicken panini, which rings a bell. I may have had something with Coronation chicken in Conwy! I was finding it hard going on the way back.  I sat down for a rest on a bench near Pensarn, and husband insisted my gears were wrong and fiddled with them. This caused them to start slipping, so by the time we got to the new Clwyd bridge I was not in a good temper, and felt we should stop for a drink at the new cafe there. I led the way through the estates at the back of Rhyl, and managed to lose husband at one point on the estate where I lived for 5 years in my late teens. He hadn't noticed I'd turned left. It did give me a rest whilst waiting for him.

Bridge open for a yacht
By the time we were back at the cottage I was exhausted, I'd done 18 miles. I've not ridden that far since I was a teenager. We spent the last evening as usual with my sister, sadly she never wants to come out with us in the daytime. Then we began our packing before bed, and were up early to get everything packed. Not able to contact the owner, we put the keys through his letterbox, and he appeared afew minutes later for a final chat.
We drove back our usual way, A55, A41, calling at the Dobbie's garden  centre for lunch and a browse. We just about beat 3 coachloads of pensioners to the cafe, they hadn't booked so there was a delay in some of the food, fortunately not ours. Then M6 and M1,fairly busy as it was Friday.
As usual it was good to be home back in our own bed. I will write about the rest of October later.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

September stories

I'm sorry for my long absence, we've had a busy time on way or another,and I haven't felt up to getting my thought so paper as it were.
On the first day of September, we went over to Watford to collect husband's camera from the place where it was being repaired and cleaned. Watford resembles a huge building site,and access from our usual car park involves walking down a  timber constructed corridor. We had a browse round some shops, but didn't spend a lot of time there, the noise from the construction sites doesn't make it an appealing place.
The next day was our Grandson Ethan's 3rd Birthday. He had a small party in the morning at home, and then they travelled down to us. They had booked a local premier Inn again, as disturbed nights seemed to be the order of the day. We had dinner together, Ethan opened his gift from us, then they departed for the inn, leaving Tom with us. The next day I packed up a picnic, and we all set off for ZSL Whipsnade. The forecast wasn't good, but the weather remained fine, although cold so we ended up wearing waterproofs as windcheaters, as we walked around. it's very open up there on the downs
We pooled our food, having secured an outdoor table, then went under cover for a while, so that the children could work off some energy in the play area, then resumed with a visit to the butterfly house.
It was probably between the penguins and the lions that it started to rain, by the time we reached the giraffes it was relentless, so we decided to call it a day.
 Elephant family
See you later!
Butterfly house
sheltering with giraffes

Husband and I nipped home, dried off, and picked up some things, then we headed off to our daughter's taking Tom with us. Dogs aren't allowed in zoos. We had a Birthday tea, and then a Thomas the Tank engine cake which I had found in Sainsbury's.
As there are so many of us now, we don't fit well round the table, so we had lunch out, on the Sunday The kids got a bit fed up waiting for their meal, so we didn't bother with dessert, but went back to our Daughter's house for ice creams, then it was time for our son and his family to collect Tom's stuff and off they went.
 A couple of days later I was surprised to see Christmas food on sale in the shops, madness! A few days later the weather changed and we went to visit Mum in Law in Bexhill. The next day it was really hot so when we went into Eastbourne, I suggested sandwiches on the sea front for lunch. It was very pleasant sitting there, but when the time came to walk back Mum in law said she would rather have gone to our usual place for lunch.
Th next day we went into Bexhill. She wanted to try and get something sorted about a bill she had had for a card she has. Her eyesight is quite bad, but the ladies in the shop quickly reassured her that her balance was zero. How I wish she had shown me the bill before we left. We then parked in Bexhill and sat on the sea front for a while. I needed to find a ladies room so left the other 2, and then afterwards, I nipped up a side street to look in a shop or 2. I met husband on the way back, he was walking to get his steps up. Mum in law was where we had left her, so we had an ice cream, and then went back to the bungalow.
She seemed more confused at times and had said some really odd things to me, so I was glad that the ladies who had visited from social services had urged her to see the GP about her memory problems. She was waiting to go to a memory clinic.
Husband did a bit of weeding for her, we left the next day at around lunchtime, and had a bit of a slow journey on the M25.
We visited a garden centre to try and find something to fill in gaps in my pots, we also sorted a cupboard and a lot of stuff was shredded, and husband found his long lost savings certificates.
The weather had soon changed back from mini heatwave, so I began the task of putting away summer clothes and getting out the Autumn/Winter stuff.
I had my review with the G P, I had a moan about the awful side effects from the beta blockers, and
as my home readings were good, got permission to lessen the dose. I duly went for my fasting blood tests, was in and out in 15 minutes, as there were 3 phlebotomists on duty, then went for my usual tea and toast to break my fast.
On 30th September, it was my sister's 80th Birthday. We travelled up to North Wales, taking the bikes, but arriving quite late. My sister with the Birthday was to have joined us for a tea party at the other sister's house, but as her husband was unwell, she sadly had to cancel. I'm not sure when we will all get together again.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

August adventures

I didn't start the month off too well, by having a reaction to eating edamame bean salad. I've long suspected a slight intolerance to soya, but the edamame beans had me feeling really sick, after a while bloated, and then with an upset tum. So now I check the labels of bean salads, to make sure there are no edamame beans.
The weather was quite hot, and on the 5th of August, we went for a bike ride. we only did 6.5 miles, I couldn't cope with much more in the heat. The next day it was our daughter's Birthday, and I popped up to see her briefly, and give her her present, as we were going away. We travelled up to see our son and his wife and family, He hasn't been getting weekends off much, but he was to be off on the Monday and Tuesday. We arrived late on the Saturday; we had arranged to stay on a room only basis at the hotel we had stayed in before, as nights at our Son's are often disturbed by light sleeping children. It was cheaper than staying at the local premier lodge.
We had a meal with them, and later went back to the hotel. Our Son was working on the Sunday, but we went there for breakfast then off to church with our Daughter in Law and the children. Elise was going through a very clingy phase, wanting only Mummy, but I did get some cuddles in. After lunch we walked round to the local park with Tom, Ethan took his balance bike. He enjoyed time on the swings before we walked back. It was a warm pleasant day.
Our Son was off on the Monday, so we went to Quarry bank mill. It is an old cotton mill, in a valley on the bank of a river, it is fascinating to see all the old machines and hear the noise that the workers had to put up with It is a National Trust property, so entrance for us was free. Afterwards we took Ethan to the play area for a while, so didn't get to see much of the gardens.  As we drove back, I noticed that the local prison Styal, has a 'Clink' restaurant, where inmates are trained in the restaurant trade, which hopefully reduces re-offending.

On the Tuesday, it wasn't so hectic, we just walked into the town centre, and had lunch, then had a browse before walking back. Our Daughter in law had a previously booked visit planned for the Wednesday, so we had breakfast at the hotel, then a leisurely drive home. It had been lovely to see the grandchildren even if I didn't get a lot of cuddles. They change so much when they are as little as Elise.
Late last year I had an accident with one of my kitchen drawers, when the interior fell apart. I had been trying to replace it ever since but everything I chose either had the wrong runners or some other fault, so I decided to get a made to measure one, this came from a company called Probox. You can choose the wood. When it arrived it was beautifully made. The idea was to fix the old runners to the drawer, but the upper runners had gone missing, I tracked some down at B&Q, online and they arrived in the most enormous box! It took him a while to get going, but husband eventually did the job, so I no longer have an unsightly gap in my kitchen, and less clutter upstairs where the contents had been moved.

We had some very hot days in August,and eventually the last of the fruit was picked,and I started to
cut back the raspberry canes. Nathaniel had a Star Wars party, on one of the days when it rained. We went to tea on his Birthday, and he had a themed cake, R2D2, if I remember rightly.
I was very cross one Sunday to get home form church and find a parcel had been left on top of my bin, in view form the road, so I complained and got the delivery charges refunded. we had a visit to the garden centre, so I could fill in some gaps in my pots, we also had a trip to Watford to get husband's camera repaired. We ventured South one day, to try out the newly tarmacked stretch of the canal bank, but I had knee and hip pain, so we only went as far as Kings Langley.
I also had pains in my head, but these disappeared when I took off my none prescription sunglasses! We needed to mind the children one evening, so took then to the park, when the ice cream man arrived Lydia asked so sweetly, that we all had a Mr Whippy. Oops, I discovered later it was their second ice cream of the day!

Sunday, 9 October 2016

The joys of July

I'm always chasing my tail with this blog these days, hard to believe it started off daily, but so many blogs I once read haven't been updated for years.
The last week in June was spent catching up, sorting the garden, uploading holiday pictures, getting out and about walking. There was not to much washing to catch up on, as I'd kept up with it at the holiday cottage where there was a tumble dryer in the garage. It was a condensing tumble dryer,and one day the stuff just wasn't drying; so we looked at the instructions, and found there was a big tank which pulled out, which was full of water. that had to be emptied for the dryer to be efficient. It's amazing what you learn staying in rented properties.
Nathaniel's sports day was cancelled this year as the field was too wet. On 1st of July husband collected Nathaniel from school, and  later  I collected Lydia from nursery. Their parents had dropped off some of their stuff at our house in the morning before heading off to Stratford upon Avon, to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary, 10 years! Where did that time go? They were going to see A Midsummer Night's Dream, which was supposed to be a surprise for Daughter, but the envelope which had arrived bearing the words RSC, was a bit of a give away.
The children were a little bit excited, sleeping over at Nanna and Grandad's. Nathaniel had done it before, but was too little to remember. I had made fish pie,and they seemed to enjoy what they ate of it. Of course the toyboxes were out again, cluttering our small room, and I read books to them. After they got ready for bed, I read them a story, and prayed with them, then we left them to play quietly, but being in the hottest bedroom in high summer, with light evenings, meant I wasn't too hard on them. After all the next day was a no school day.
Eventually I looked in and both were asleep, in strange positions, and not covered by the duvets.
Next morning I peeped in, and eventually Lydia opened her eyes, and said 'It's Nanna!'
Some time after breakfast, I decided to pop to the supermarket, as our Son and his wife and the children were catching an early Euro train from France. When I arrived back with lunch, they were all here.  The 3 older children having a whale of a time, and baby Elise looking as if she wanted to join in. I got some baby cuddles in, and we managed to squeeze round the table for lunch.
They weren't planning to stay too long, and just as they were about to start getting ready to leave, Daughter and husband arrived. I had a full house!
So there was much catching up, and laughter, just a bit later Lydia came in from the garden, and from the state of her, she had been picking my newly ripened raspberries. She had an accomplice, Ethan.
We went into the garden, only to find raspberries floating in the bird bath. Their parents were struggling to keep straight faces, I summoned up a stern voice and said 'Who has been picking my raspberries?' at which Ethan grabbed his Mum's hand and said 'Let's go now!'
I adore my grandchildren, but had waited so long for those raspberries to ripen. Raspberry soup was not on my menu.
The family made their various departures, and we were left with a little bit too much peace and quiet.
The weather improved and people started having barbecues, with that horrible sickly smell of lighter fuel. Our back door stayed open most of the time, we continued to pick loads of fruit, I got bitten again. I found Aloe Vera gel the most soothing thing.

Bite on ankle

Our Council had the new town centre dancing fountain open in time for the school holidays
We also took a trip to Hitchin Lavender, as the lavender hadn't really been out in Heacham. However this is very different, you pay to go in and they give you a pair of scissors and a large paper bag, and you can fill your bag with lavender. There were lots of people there, we had lunch in the cafe, and afterwards, walking up and down the fields the smell was amazing. If we stood still and quiet, all we could hear was the buzzing and humming of the bees, it was a totally relaxing experience.

Boat being lifted by crane On return from Berkhamsted

We ventured out on our bikes and cycled all the way to Berkhamsted again, but I think I overdid things. We carried on doing lots of walking. Our friends held their annual coffee morning in their garden, so we spent a pleasant time there.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Our last day in Norfolk

The Friday dawned quite a nice day. The election as to whether Britain should stay in the EU had taken place the day before. We were fed up with the TV coverage, we had had a postal vote as our holiday had been booked for so long. All over Norfolk we had seen 'vote leave' posters, except in Norwich where there was one small 'vote remain.'
The night before the BBC news was reporting that it was mostly likely that the vote would go to the 'remain' side, although they had stressed no results were in. I couldn't be bothered to stay up and watch. That morning, I was determined not to turn the TV on. I opened my computer, and decided to go on facebook. After a few minutes my eyes strayed to the 'trending' bar, and I saw that Britain had voted to leave, the EU. After all the hype of the previous evening I was really surprised by this.
What surprised me even more though, was the vitriol, the hatred, the vile comments directed towards those who had voted out. The people behaving like toddlers stamping their feet and saying 'No!', demanding second referendums even. Whatever happened to democracy?
We had decided in view of the weather we had been having that we would use the last Friday as a day of packing up, taking our time, and we would leave on the Friday afternoon as we do when we leave Cornwall. We were near enough to home to not have to worry about a long journey. Our one consolation was that most of the country had suffered the same weather as us.
Husband said he wanted to walk to the church again, and this time go inside if possible. So we planned to walk into the village, and call in at the baker's for a sandwich for lunch. That was until we walked past the fish and chip shop. The smell was quite good. So we went to the church had a good look round, husband reminisced, and he hunted everywhere for the memorial plaque to Pocahontas. or Mrs John Rolfe of Heacham to give her her proper title.
He was unable to find the plaque, but as I wandered into a side chapel, I discovered it. Satisfied, we made our way back out of the church. As we walked along I reasoned that if we bought sandwiches, I would have to cook a meal that evening, not knowing when we would arrive home; but if we had a take away from the chip shop, then we would only need a light meal, so we joined the small queue, and came out with cod and chips for him and fish cake for me.
Back at the cottage, once we had eaten our meal, we began the packing and tidying in earnest. We had already packed most of the clothes the evening before. We loaded up the car, loaded up the bikes, I returned all the keys to their hooks, and got the spare key out of the key safe and locked up.
Soon we were on our way, calling in at the big Sainsbury's at King's Lynn, but all there were no tutus or practice ballet skirts left in Lydia's size.
I rang the owner to say that the cottage would be empty overnight, we drove along past rivers and fens, such a flat landscape, ideal for cycling, but in much better weather than we had had! The GPS refused to work, and husband took a wrong turning, which almost led us back to Kings Lynn. I dug out the map, and guided him to the correct route. Sometimes the old methods are the best.
We stopped on the way for a drink and snack, and made it home in a reasonable time. Back to an overgrown garden, but the lack of ripe fruit testament to the lack of sunshine at home too. Still husband had his wish, and now knows his memories of Norfolk are not always accurate. Distance lends enchantment.
Husband's old boarding house

row of cottages

St Mary's church

Pocahontas memorial