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.
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).