Archive for December, 2011

Recession?

Posted in Uncategorized on December 18, 2011 by David Palmer

As expected, Jamie got notification of termination of contract at Disney as from 7th of January. During the last month work has been very slow and at the same time last year, everyone was rushed off their feet trying to get orders out. It looks like the recession we keep hearing about (every time you switch on the TV or radio)  has really started to bite and people are not shopping. I certainly thought that on my drive down to Devon and back, there wasn’t an awful lot of lorries on the motorway and Harborough (on my rare forays) seems rather quiet for the Christmas period. I heard the Thomas Cook (he started his business in Harborough) is in severe trouble.

My solution to this countries troubles would be to grant independence to the Scots so that they can pay for their own education, health service and public transport. Unite Ireland by encouraging Northern Ireland to buy Eire (Get RBS to lend them the money). Nuke France because it’s full of the French, after filling in the Channel Tunnel of course. Sue the Americans for causing the recession. Invade Iceland, and declare it part of the UK (our financial institutions already own most of it) and distribute free fish and chips to all pensioners (fish from Iceland and potatoes from Ireland, as reparations) once a week. Send all foreign nationals that I don’t approve of, back to their country of origin , with no right of appeal unless they agree to the death penalty if unsuccessful (that should focus the mind). Investigate all financial institutions and jail all individuals that have lost money and received a bonus for it. Use MI5 to assassinate all foreign bankers that undertake to undermine the British economy. I think that sounds fair.

On Monday Sue and I went on a Council walk through the fields around Countesthorpe. It was a chilly and windy day, though we kept warm by setting a fairly brisk pace. Afterwards, we had hot chocolate with the rest of the group at the local garden centre.

Foston 10th Century Church (St. Boartholomew’s)

Last Wednesday morning I drove up to Yorkshire to bring Sarah and Nan back to Harborough. Nan was on her way to have her hair done when I arrived, so I did a bit of tidying around in the garden. When she returned we went for lunch in Whiston and afterwards picked Sarah up from her place and drove to Harborough.

On Thursday Charlotte and Ellis came to see Sarah. All three later went off Christmas shopping in Corby. Sue was booked in to teach at Church Langton (during the afternoon) and had a great time catching up with gossip, though she was quizzed about what she knew about the head at Little Bowden. In the local paper he had been found guilty of interfering with SAT@s test papers at Year 6. He had resigned and now could not be traced. During the afternoon I had a reflexology session with Doreen (our next door neighbour), she had offered many times and I thought I would try it. Very relaxing, I can see why Charlotte is so keen on it. Later, Charlotte picked up Lucas from school and they stayed for tea.

On Friday Charlotte, Lucas and Ellis arrived in the morning. The heating system had broken down at Lucas’s school and the school was closed.. They stayed all day and had tea. I cooked a chilli as I fancied making one. That night, Suraj had an office party to go to and didn’t come for tea.

Saturday saw a hard frost in the morning and a temperature that didn’t get above 3 degrees all day. I had programme duty at the club (selling match progs) so got their early. I watched the Tigers beat a French side on the TV and a bit of the First team beat Vipers, but it was rather cold to stand too long. We watched ‘Strictly come Dancing’ on the TV during the evening. Sarah was at the Club earning some money working behind the bar. But, we had a phone call at 9pm to pick her up as she was ill, she had been sick and was feeling cold. Sue went and got her. She did look poorly! We think she had caught the sickness bug that Ellis and Lucas had gone down with last week.

Jason, Kristina; Pasha, Chelsee; Harry, Aliona

This morning we woke up to the first snow of the winter for Harborough.

Lucas is Five!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 11, 2011 by David Palmer

The central heating got fixed on Friday, the week had been cold and Sue and I had worn our ‘thermals’ all week. By 10pm most nights we were in bed (with hot water bottles). During the week I had replaced one of the security lights out side from a massive 800 watt energy guzzler to a a nice 120 watt dinky one. Plus, later that day Sue pointed out that when I had ‘turned down’ one of the garage freezers to 1 last week, I had in fact ‘turned it up’ to 9!!! I knew I should have worn my glasses. Now that we have a smart meter installed it is quite frightening to see it turn red and you find yourself wondering what caused it, so I go for a little hunt around the house to find the culprit. It is usually the fridge in the kitchen or Jamie has arrived.

We had a lot of wind this week, I was hoping that all the leaves I hadn’t managed to sweep up last week would blow away down river, but shock horror, new piles appeared! One of the fence panels blew down, so I nailed it back into place. Doreen came out to see what I was doing and offered to give me some Reflexology sessions. I hope they do me good. A little later, I noticed that Nigel (school caretaker) was making the fence panel firmer with screws rather than nails. We had a chat about school, glad I am not there now!

Sue and I found a very flat stone when on the beach in Devon and at the time thought it would make a nice headstone for Murphy. This week I carved Murphy’s name into it and then painted the lettering in gold (looked quite effective). I gave it to Charlotte and it now resides with Murphy.

Sarah came home on Wednesday. I picked up from Leicester station. She had a driving lesson on Thursday and took her test on Friday. Unfortunately, she failed on one ‘Major’, so close. I think she has put he name down for a cancellation to take it again as soon as possible.

Saturday was Lucas’s 5th birthday. Charlotte had booked the rugby club for a party. The whole family was down at the club waiting at the gates for Gary the bar steward to turn up at 8.30am. A good job I rang him at 8.15am as he had forgotten. As soon as he turned up we set about putting out the tables and blowing up balloons etc. Suraj’s sister Nina and son had come over for the party and were with us. The party was due to start at 9.30am and did so, despite the morning being the coldest one of the winter so far and there being a hard frost out side. Everyone had fun, I thought about going on the bouncy castle, but I guess I am too old now and would probably suffer for it later, so I didn’t.

Sarah returned to Uni’ on Saturday afternoon. She has a few essays to write before Monday(she has an exam) and wanted to get back. On Tuesday she is meeting Nan Meadowhall to do a spot of shopping. On Wednesday I am driving up there to bring them both home for Christmas (weather permitting). That afternoon I went down to the Rugby Club to watch the Thirds play, but when I got there the opposition had failed to turn up. The Vets were playing the Thirds in a fun game, so I borrowed a whistle from behind the bar and refereed it (in winter coat and hiking boots), I had fun, not sure they did. Afterwards I watched rugby on the TV with Jim and Jim (yes, there is two of them).

Jamie has been busy Christmas shopping. The other day he and Harley spent the afternoon buying presents and then popped around to wrap them up. They both seemed excited about the coming celebration. According to Jamie’s Facebook, his bank account has taken a bit of hammering (I wonder if I will get that red Ferrari this year?)  He plays soccer at the High School in Rothwell on Thursday nights, last week, despite having a nasty chesty cold, he played against Sebastian Vettel’s chief mechanic (I bet he was quick!).

I spoke to David on Skype the other night, he has been busy painting Nan’s lounge, and he replaced the curtain railings. He has promised to clean the carpets with the Unit’s cleaner. He and Genya enjoyed Sunday lunch cooked by Nan and we are not sure what they are doing for Christmas, in fact I am not sure whether David celebrates it (he used to be a practising Jehova’s Witness).

Murphy

Posted in Uncategorized on December 6, 2011 by David Palmer

Chars P-s

Sadly, Murphy has passed away. He had been Charlotte’s cat for 12 years and been loved by all the family, even more so when having tangled with a car, she had lost a leg. Murphy would always be there hopping along, always willing to sit on your lap and entice an ear scratch out of anyone looking like they might. I had  a soft spot for Murphy and she knew it, always taking advantage of my better nature whenever I sat down. Charlotte found her in the hedge near the garage when she was fetching some fish fingers from the freezer. Murphy had terrible injuries from a probable collision with another car. After a frantic phone call, I met Charlotte and Murphy at the Vets in Harborough. The Vet confirmed my fears and  suspected that she had broken her back. She wasn’t in any pain and though very listless knew that Charlotte was holding her.  It was decided that  nothing could be done to put her back together and with Charlotte cuddling her, she went to sleep.

On Tuesday, Joan and Phil arrived in Harborough. They had popped over to the UK for her mum’s 90th birthday and to visit friends. Fortunately, Roger had returned from a romantic holiday in Cyprus the day before and we arranged to meet Joan and Phil at the Angel for lunch. It was nice to catch up on news about Wags and the wine. They surprised me with a gift of a  very large chunk of Italian hard cheese. It is my favourite part of the meal, when Roger and I go to visit. I shall try to save  it for Christmas, but I don’t think it will make it somehow. We walked with them back to their hire car before saying goodbye.

V

On Thursday, Sue and I drove down to Devon to stay with Philippa and Paul.  In the past Sue has always met Philippa in Worcester to swap Christmas presents and do a bit of shopping. As Sue does very little supply work now, it was decided be could visit for a short break. On the way down we stopped in Clevedon for sandwiches and a drink. It is a delightful resort, very picturesque. It looked an ideal place to retire to, not surprisingly there were quite  a few Retirement Homes dotted around the bay. We arrived in Buckfastleigh during the late afternoon. Pau was home from work, and Philippa was on the way  from school and stopped briefly on the way to do some shopping. We had a lovely evening meal and then retired to the lounge and watched TV and chatted until bedtime.

The following day, when Sue and I woke up, Philippa and Paul had quietly gone off to work. We had breakfast and then drove down to Startpoint Lighthiouse. We parked on the top of the cliff and walked down to the lighthouse, disappointingly  it was closed. Afterwards we drove along the coast towards Dartmouth, visiting each of the coastal villages as we met them. We stopped in Beesands at the Cricketers and had lunch. We then drove on to Dartmouth. We stopped at the Castle to reminisce, I had been best man at a friend’s wedding at the castle over 30 years, but  age had obviously taken its toll as we couldn’t recognise anything or anywhere that we had been to.We drove on into the town, luckily found a free parking space, and set off to wander around. We discovered the hotel that we had stayed in all those years ago and remembered the harbour side shops (so we weren’t going gaga after-all!). There was a market selling local produce, we looked but didn’t buy. It started to drizzle, so we set off back to Buckfastleigh.

On Saturday Paul went to work and Philippa, Sue and I  drove into Dartmoor, we took a rather convolluted  SatNav journey to Hay Tor. We passed through some stunning scenery packed with chocolate box cottages even though the weather was rather dull and damp. It was very windy on top of the Tor, but despite the cold we  got there, the view was limited by cloud, but we still saw the sea in the distance. We didn’t stay long before we drove into Bovey Tracey for lunch. Afterwards we looked around the shops and then made our way back.

That evening we went with Philippa and Paul to their local cinema at Dartington Hall. It is a magnificent old building that is now a conference centre. The cinema itself was in one of the grand halls and looked very like Harborough cinema inside. The film was a modern version of Wuthering Heights. Not one I can recommend for the following points: 1. Heathcliffe was not black. 2. Hinley couldn’t act. 3. Blair Witch style photography was not apt. 4. It does not always rain in Yorkshire. 5.  The swear words were 21st century. 6. Young Catherine didn’t look anything like old Catherine. 7. Endlessly, long scenic shots should only be in French films. 8. One hanging dog is enough.

However, we all managed to get through the film and then had Buckfastleigh’s finest fish and chips for supper in front of the TV before retiring to bed. I actually dreamed about the film! My version was better and I am sure would have been much more preferred by the Yorkshire Tourist Board.

Sunday saw me getting up early and sitting at Paul’s computer and checking over an essay from Sarah that she had emailed for me to look at. Afterwards, Sue and I walked down the road to see the Abbey. Very imposing and not as old as it seems, only built-in the 1900’s. We had lunch when we returned and then set off to Bristol.

The journey to see Chris Tippets (an old college friend) was a very wet one, it rained most of the way, but thankfully it had stopped when we arrived. Sue had a migraine, so after a hot drink she stayed behind while Chris and I took his neighbour’s dog for a walk along the Severne estuary. When we returned we had another coffee  before setting of f to the hotel we had booked for the night. After checking in, we then went on a marathon search for some food. After visiting a couple of pubs, one didn’t do food on Sunday the other one finished serving at 8pm (it was 11 minutes after) we got food from Burger King, which was just 200yds from the hotel! We had been their first, but after looking at the menu, we didn’t fancy and had decided to move on. We ate the food watching TV in the room.

The following morning we drove over to Chris’s, but he was out. We had a look around Thornbnury and on our return he was in. After a chat and a drink we drove to a local pub for lunch. We had a carvery for just £3.95! As it was cheap Sue and Chris had a pudding. We drove Chris back home, said goodbye and then set off home. The house was cold when we got there and the outside temperature was heading to below freezing. The hot water bottles were got out at bedtime.

The central heating boiler had broken down last Wednesday and EON had been booked to fix it today. Despite texting to say they would be arriving before 1pm, they eventually turned up at 4pm. Unfortunately a part was broken and it is now getting fixed on Friday brrrrr! I had my hair cut today (mistake).