Archive for Mar, 2011

Some sunny days.

Posted in Uncategorized on Mar 30, 2011 by David Palmer

There have been quite a few sunny and warm days this week, which meant several of them being spent at the allotments. Weeds are now extinct (temporarily, no doubt) 11 rows of potatoes, 5 rows of red onions,  4 rows of broad beans and a 1 row of parsnips  are now in situ. I have even filled the water butts and ridged up some of the vines. While we are talking gardens, last week I made a gate in the back garden of the Rothwells, then chopped down the undergrowth between their property and the adjoining field, mowed it, dug out some steps as it is on a slope and then made a bench of some upturned pots and a few planks of wood. It is Lucas’s garden. Yesterday, I dug out a pond in Lucas’s garden to house some frog spawn. However, though I sent Charlotte, Sarah, Lucas and Ellis on a frog spawn hunt to the local pond, they came back empty bucketed.

Sarah has had an offer from Sheffield. She made quite an impression during the interview and sold herself very well, they said.  She has  decided to accept the offer and see what her options are after the exams. Her KA lost its main beam headlights last week, so I spent a morning checking the electrics. The fuses and bulbs were fine and I isolated it to the Dip relay. Having lost a lot of skin from my hands taking the bulb in and out to check, (there is not a lot of room inside the Ford KA’s engine!!!), I rang a friend who is in the trade and asked if he could get me one and fit it. He did the following day at a fraction of the cost from a garage.

The other day my mower gave up the ghost with a lot of carbon emitting from the exhaust. Having stripped it down and made it work, it happened again. It is now with my friend who assures me he can fix it. (I hope).

On Sunday, Philippa came to see us. She and Paul were up in Lincoln sorting out Paul’s father’s finances as he is not very well. She travelled down in the morning to have lunch with us at the Rothwells. Jamie and Harley also came, which meant lunch for 10 (not including cats). Charlotte surpassed herself with a table groaning with food, I think she had decided that no-one was going to go hungry.  Lucas looked a little off colour and as we later found out has a virus. Sue and Pip left for Harborough later in the afternoon. I stayed for a further couple of hours and put up some more obligatory shelves and wired  a power socket in the kitchen for the micro-wave. I had moved it the previous week and of course it entailed some more shelving.

The photo is the Rothwell’s house. Charlotte’s is the one on the left. When downloading the image from my camera I noticed quite a lot of photos of things that Jamie is probably putting on eBay. Quite a lot of them are bits and accessories from his car that either got replaced or just weren’t practical. I wish him luck.


Spring has sprung

Posted in Uncategorized on Mar 21, 2011 by David Palmer

It has been nice to see the sun again, especially now that it has started to radiate a bit of warmth. Lulu (next door’s cat) has now started to make a regular appearance in the garden. As soon as the back door opens there is the sound of a ‘thump’ on the fence as she leaps over, runs in front o f you and then throws herself onto her back , waiting for the inevitable scratch and fondle. She still has her winter coat and scratching releases a lot of white fur into atmosphere that is probably not good for ‘global warming’. We have a pheasant living in the garden. It is quite nice to watch him strut around, inspecting the plants and pecking the grass, but now that Lulu is around he is less than impressed. Though she doesn’t attack him (he is too big) she does stalk him and that forces him eventually to fly off. No doubt, after reading this, Sarah will complain that I write more about Lulu than her!

On Wednesday I went to the allotment and planted 4 rows of potatoes as they had sprouted and had started to get wrinkly, I put in some broad beans and red onions at the same time. As usual, I spent most of the time talking to some of the other allotment holders, who I am sure only have one so that they can spend their days talking. So far, no-one has offered any advice as to how to grow anything, that must mean I am doing it right or they have decided I am beyond help.

On Thursday evening I had a meeting (appropriately in the Sugar Loaf), concerned withe organisation of a Beer Festival at the Rugby Club (31st April – 1st May). We had met to choose the beers for the event and discuss the organisational issues. We decided to meet again next week (at the Sugar Loaf). Afterwards, Sarah and I drove up to Nan’s. Sarah had an interview  at the Sheffield College the following morning and we thought best to be there and avoid any travelling problems. We didn’t arrive until 10.30pm and Nan was rather tired as it was well past her bedtime. The following morning we drove into Sheffield using Sue’s SatNav which last had its maps updated in 2005. We got lost as the City Centre is now completely changed. The solution was to stop using the SatNav and the human driver took over and used the road signs and Yorkshire Nowse to get us there. Sarah checked in at reception half an hour early and I drove back to Nan’s. Sarah sent a text saying to pick her up at 4pm.

When I arrived back in Thurcroft, David was there. I had to apologise as he had come to pick up his 500Gb hard drive and in the rush to leave on Thursday night I had forgotten to bring it. Suraj had filled the drive with films and TV series in readiness for this return to Bulgaria, so that he and Genya could while away the evenings. I promised to get it to him before he returned to BG  in about 5 weeks time. While he was there, he and I set about trying to fix Nan’s washing machine. It wouldn’t pump out the water. We upended it and David took the pipes underneath apart. We found various coins, clips and a lot of grit. When it was put back together, it still didn’t work.  A repair man had been booked for Saturday morning, so we decided to leave it to him (it turned out to be a 5p stuck in the pipe). David left to do some proper work, he gives drumming lessons in local schools. Nan and I went to the pub for lunch.

Later, I drove into Sheffield to pick Sarah up and got lost again. This time I used the SatNav on my phone and it had the latest Google Maps. However, the City Centre is all a one way system and if you are not in the right lane you are bu#&$d!! I resorted to road signs and nowse and picked her up only 10 minutes late. What I didn’t know was that Lee had also had an interview there, so she had company. She was very impressed with the course as quite a bit of it included experience out of College and the exams were not until the final year. She was very impressed with this novel approach. But wasn’t that they it used to be? I can understand how you thoroughly get fed up with continuous testing and the pressure that brings. It takes away all the fun and motivation to learn. We stayed at Nan’s until 7pm and drove home, the motorway was very busy and with petrol now at over £6 a gallon I had the car computer monitoring my mpg and I managed 47 mpg all the way.

The following morning Sue and I had a leisurely drive  up to North Wales. We had decided to visit our relatives there and had booked a Hotel in a place called Ewloe as it was central to the visits we had planned to make. On the way there we stopped in Cefn y Bedd and had  a super lunch at the Holly Bush. Afterwards we drove up to Brymbo to see Aunt Josie. Her son, David was there. He is a carpet fitter, but work is slack at the moment and he had time in his hands to see us. We stayed a couple of hours and chatted about family and events before driving down to Caergwrle to see Aunt Doreen. We stayed about an hour before leaving to find the hotel, which we did with no problems (even though we used Sue’s  SatNav).

Village St David's nr Chester, Ewloe, United Kingdomholly bushWeir on the River Alyn - Afon Alun - - 1721449.jpgEwloe Castle.JPG

Hotel                Pub                     Brymbo                                              Caergwrle                                                Ewloe Castle

The hotel was in the De Vere chain and was very acceptable. We explored the facilities, watched a bit of TV then drove back to Caergwrle and had our evening meal at the ‘The Bridge’ which is a pub and also serves Chinese food. It was an excellent meal.

The following morning it was lovely and sunny while we had breakfast in the hotel. Unfortunately our plan for the day had gone awry. We we planning to visit Sue’s relatives near Chester but they had succumbed to a stomach bug and were too ill and the friends we were visiting in Mold were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary in Paris. We decided to see nearby Ewloe Castle. It was a bit of a walk across some field to get to it, but it certainly was worth it. We spent an hour and a half wandering a round the surrounding parkland and then returned to the car. We set off home.

Luckily, we happened to be passing Harborough Rugby Club at exactly 2pm. The First team were playing in a County Cup semi-final (ko @ 2pm) so Sue dropped me off and I watched the game. Unfortunately, despite leading all through the game, they lost in the final seconds as the opposition scored a try. I stayed on to watch England lose to Ireland on the TV before walking home. That evening we had a phone call from some people we met in Shanghai. They lived in Newcastle and were visiting their daughter who was living in Desborough. We arranged for them to come over the following day at 11am for coffee. I couldn’t remember them, so refreshed my memory by watching our video of the holiday.

Sarah had decided to stay at Charlotte’s, so the following morning we had a surprise visit from Charlotte and Ellis. She had taken Sarah to work at Savers and was dropping off Sarah’s bag, Suraj and Lucas had gone swimming. Ellis has started to crawl so we encouraged him to demonstrate. They left just before our guests arrived.

We had a nice time chatting about what had happened to each other during our ‘Ash Cloud’ stay in Shanghai. We had spent a day with them exploring the Nanjing Road and of course had also changed hotels to the Ibis. Neither of us knew how each other had returned or when, as it had been so quick and unexpected. But they had flown home a couple of days after us. We watched a bit of the video I had made. They had been on another cruise through the Panama Canal since and were planning another one to Chile. They left inviting us to visit them in the North East.

Jamie came for Sunday lunch. While we were away he had booked a holiday to Spain with Harley and wanted me to check the details. I printed out the booking, checked the passport and flights and promised to take them to the airport (East midlands) , I then noticed he was flying at 6am!

That afternoon I went to the allotment, planted some more red onions and finished off a row of potatoes and beans. Sarah arrived home. Though we didn’t need to,  in the evening we made a fire, just because we have got into the habit of it. It did get too warm. It was the Spring Solstice after all!

A quite eventful week!

Posted in Uncategorized on Mar 13, 2011 by David Palmer

It certainly has been a very  eventful week for the world and the Palmer family.

The population of Libya has suffered the tyranny of Gaddafi  for quite a few decades, and chose this week to get rid of him. Unfortunately, he doesn’t want to go and now they are suffering the consequences of their actions. All the world agrees that he is a most distasteful dictator and should be got rid of, but up to now it is doing nothing about it.

Japan is suffering from a most appalling  earthquake and subsequent Tsunami. It is a most beautiful country, populated with gentle, obedient people who certainly deserve every support the world can muster.

Having had a ‘tummy ache’ for quite a few weeks I had visited the doctor who referred me to the local Cottage Hospital. On Monday I had a Sigmoidoscopy.  Not a pleasant procedure, but apparently suffered by 70% of the population. Three bands later, the condition had been attended to. But, unlike  previous occasions,  it has been quite painful and limited what I have been able to do. The weather has been quite good this week, and I have not been able to trot down to the allotments, most annoying.

Jamie  had a weeks holiday and he and I put up some pictures in his apartment and replaced  one of the doors of his wardrobe (it had a fault on it when it was delivered last week). He also had the builders working there during the week on his balcony window. Since the block had been built, the building had settled and the lintel was preventing the door from opening fully. They seem to have fixed the problem and Jamie is now asking for  the wall to be painted.

Charlotte had her stair-gate installed (fitted perfectly). I then fitted some shelves into one of Lucas’s cupboards as she needed to organise his bedding and clothes separately. While she was on a roll, she requested that her micro-wave oven be moved. The only solution was to build some more shelves and do a spot of re-wiring. I completed this task while she and the kids were around at Jamie’s apartment having cheese-cake and coffee. I guess I didn’t get an invite because I don’t like cheesecake.

Sue spent a couple of afternoons in school and also arranged to have a spare-bed (from Jim and Kate) for Jamie’s old bedroom delivered. It came Wednesday night. Sarah has her Driving Theory Test next Monday and has been running through the exercises that Suraj installed on her computer.

Ellis hasn’t been too well this week and it all came to a head on Friday night. Charlotte, Ellis and Lucas had arrived  at 3.30pm (for Curry Night, except this week it was Chilli Night).  At 4pm Charlotte went to see Doreen (next door) for a Reflexology session. She came straight back and asked if I could sort out the water that was pouring through their downstairs bedroom ceiling. When I got their, it wasn’t clear where the leaking pip was. The upstairs carpet, and floor-boarding had to come up. I made a lot of mess. I found the pipework and joists full of water, but couldn’t find the leak. At this time Sue came around and informed me that Charlotte, had rushed Ellis off to Kettering hospital as he had a temperature of 39 degrees and a rash had suddenly appeared. Nigel (caretaker from school) arrived and together we ripped up some more floorboards, uncovered more water, but still couldn’t find a drip, though by now we were reasonably sure which was the offending joint. We put a bowl under the joint and told them to call a plumber in the morning.

Sarah had gone with the Rothwell’s to Kettering and we had Lucas. Suraj brought Sarah home at around 11pm and drove back to hospital. They were discharged home at 1am, non the wiser as to what the problem was. Looks like chicken pox to me! We had Lucas overnight. They all came over on Saturday afternoon to collect Lucas. Ellis was still spotty, but less grizzly. Suraj left to roam Harborough, he had bought a gold necklace at the charity shop for £4 and then sold it to a jewellers for £30 (not bad). Charlotte drove home withe the kids. Lee had come down on Saturday and he and Sarah drove to Wolverhampton Uni’. They spent a pleasant day finding out about the course and student life. On their return she couldn’t wait to give me a copy of the Course/ accommodation fees! Lee has stayed overnight. Jamie had Sunday lunch with us.

NEWSFLASH: Sarah passed her Driving Test Theory Exam today!

A Day Out

Posted in Uncategorized on Mar 5, 2011 by David Palmer
Millennium Stadium

Millennium Stadium

Cardiff Castle

Another cold and miserable week (weather wise), nothing done in the allotments other than I spent an hour painting the shed with sump oil to weather proof it.  The last 15 minutes of painting was done in a steady drizzle so I didn’t do the roof, it will have to wait.

I spent one evening in Rothwell measuring to fit a stairgate. One staircase is quite wide so I had to make a support for it. It is made but not yet fitted as events contrived to put off the installation. Hopefully it fits and I just have to paint it then install it.

The Rugby Club is having its annual May Bank Holiday Rugby Sevens competition. I have helped in the past by refereeing, but Sevens Rugby is far too fast for me now and I have volunteered to help out in another way. I am on the sub-committee that is organising a parallel Beer Festival to take place over that weekend. No doubt it will mean testing a few beers, but it is not a bad sacrifice to make and my bones will ache less the following day. I attended the first meeting at the Sugar Loaf on Thursday (seemed appropriate).

We don’t see much of Jamie, unless he wants to use the computer or phone. He paid his TV licence and electricity bill this week  and sent a text to Sue complaining that his  Apartment had gone up £11 (not sure whether that was a week or month). We had a parcel delivered to the house containing car springs.  When asked he said they were for a friend who is lowering his suspension, I hope so.

Sarah seems to be spending her time between School, Rothwell, Savers and her bedroom and we seem to see less of her, except first thing in the mornings. She has an interview at Sheffield University in a couple of weeks, so I shall use it to see Nan when I take her.

Sue managed a couple of half-days in school this week, but has spent the a lot of the time with me looking through the window at the miserable weather outside (me moaning about not being able to  get out in the garden and she moaning about not being able to dry the washing). It has been that sort of damp cold that gets through to your bones.

However on Friday, we got up at 5.45am and walked to the train station to meet Jim and Kate for a day trip to Cardiff. Weather wise it was the best day of the winter so far, bright and sunny and nearly warm. The train passed through central Wales and the scenery was splendid. We stopped in Llandridnod Wells for a 20 minutes break. It was market day and Jim and I both bought our girls a face flannel with a Welsh dragon on it for 50p (so romantic). I didn’t think they were impressed but as I always say, it is the thought that counts. We had lunch at a Nando’s in Cardiff and then had a look at the Castle and most importantly the Rugby Stadium, before returning to catch the train. We returned via London to arrive back to a frosty Harborough at 10.55pm. Quite a full and enjoyable day out, and it also happened to be my birthday (but enough of that).

Inter-City Liveried special train

Today (Sunday), the Rothwell’s are coming for lunch. It will a late one as Sarah is working at Savers until 4pm.