I have been trying to sit down and write this blog for over a week now and things keep popping up to prevent me (most of which I won’t be able to remember!). There are three obvious signs of getting old, one is forgetting things and I can’t remember the other two!

Here is what I can:

I went on a Stag weekend to Manchester to celebrate Frank Johnson’s coming wedding. I have played, coached, toured and socialized with Frank for around 10 years (even though he does come from Lancashire) and I couldn’t say no to his invitation, particularly as Jeremy and Robin promised to go, as long as I did (there was pressure for you!).  We stayed at the Ibis Hotel in central Manchester and met up with some of his relatives and other friends, we made 12 in all. We drove up on a Friday afternoon and came back rather wearily on the Sunday afternoon. The highlight for me was watching Sedgely Park play Blackheath as we were guests of the President at his pre-match dinner. His after-dinner speech was not very PC but very funny, unfortunately the home side lost in the dying seconds of the game when Blackheath scored a well worked try. Another highlight was a couple of turns on the Manchester Eye and the panoramic view over the city. Visits to Night Clubs and bars with loud music now do not feature on my highlight list but, they were the obligatory low points, how your view on life can change with age. On the Sunday morning we were entertained by the local Chinese celebrating their New Year, it was very popular and the streets were so rammed you couldn’t see much, but heard a lot of drum banging. It was bitterly cold and many of the street entertainments were sparsely used, though the hot Chinese food outlets were doing a roaring trade. It is going to be my last stag do.

On the 1st of Feb. both our cars were booked into the garage for their MOT’s. I thought mine would fail as it was sounding a little ‘clunky’, but both sailed through with no faults.

Sarah has joined the local Scuba-diving Club in Sheffield and is getting thoroughly immersed in all their activities. They meet at Ponds Forge which is less than two minutes away from her digs.

Jamie has started his new job. He likes the work, but doesn’t like the shifts. It means he sometimes has to work on a Sunday and have the Friday off, he is not keen on that. But it is a permanent post and not to be sniffed at. I have been playing quite a bit of golf with him. The last time we played I treated us to lunch at the Club and it was very good value, £3.45 for two large slices of ham, two eggs and a huge pile of chips with a side salad, I shall be doing that again. I enjoy our games of golf, we are equally matched, the score is always close and so far we find more balls than we lose.

Jamie is looking to change his car, it broke down last week on the way to work, but he managed to get it going again. Sue rang me when I was on my morning bike ride and told me to come back and sort him out, and then rang again just as I got back into Harborough to tell me that he was going again. I had a little more exercise that I was planning for on that day. The weather has changed quite radically to extremely cold. The other day I was out in the wilds, thrashing through the snow when I came a cross a couple of  Caravaners by some lakes. He was standing next to a Porta-loo looking miserable. I mentioned it was cold, he informed me that at 3.30 am that morning the temperature in his car said -17 degrees! At that moment his wife came out of the loo and told him that the water was frozen and it couldn’t be used, he looked sadder. I cycled on.

During the early autumn Sue had bought a sledge and I had bought a snow shovel (what does that tell you?). When the snow arrived she gave the sledge to the Rothwell’s  and I dug the snow away from the house!

I had fetched Sarah back from Sheffield on the day that it snowed heavily. Luckily it has only just started as I drove back, or we might not have made it. Within half an hour of learning that Sarah was home, Charlotte arrived with the kids to welcome her. An hour late Jamie arrived and announced that there was a lot of snow outside and still coming down heavily (we hadn’t noticed). They all rushed outside and played throwing snowballs and  making snow angels, only coming back inside to put on gloves and hats, and then doing it all over again until they were frozen through. Sue and I were concerned that Charlotte might not be able to make it home so encouraged her to leave before it got too late.

Both Sue and I thoroughly enjoyed our Council walk to Gumley and it spurred me into arranging a similar walk with some friends. I linked it with the England v Scotland game. The two Jim’s, Sean and I walked from Gumley in a circular route on the Saturday morning. It was not without mis-hap as the canal was frozen and it appeared as if it would support a person’s weight.  After a jovial discussion I offered a £1 if one of them would try. Luckily for Mr Hankers I grabbed his arm before he disappeared under the ice. Who said that the over 50’s were wise? We arrived at the Pub for 1pm and met up with our wives who were already engaged in full gossip mode. We had a lovely meal, before returning to Harborough. The guys met up again at the Angel to watch the match on the TV. England were lucky to win. It was mentioned that we should do it again. We shall see.

I spent a few days up in Sheffield sorting out Nan’s finances. It is all getting a little beyond her now and she is getting rather confused as to what should be paid in the various polices she has. There are some very nasty people out there who see nothing wrong in taking advantage of this. Having visited the banks , made a lot of phone calls and written a lot of letters, she is back on track.  It is time I took greater control of things for her and when I go up later in the week, we shall see about her moving down to Harborough.

Yesterday Sue and I went on a Council walk to Wistow. It was quite a nice walk, but as the snow had melted it was very muddy and walking with boots clogged with a ton of soil is hard work. The previous Sunday we had the Rothwells for Sunday lunch and Ellis had been rather sick during the morning. The following day Sarah and I were sick. We both spent Monday in bed and though I got up on the Tuesday to go on the walk I went back to bed when we returned. I feel today better and intend to eat for the first time since Sunday. Last night Sarah went to babysit for Charlotte as she and Suraj were going out for a romantic Valentine’s dinner at the local Thai restaurant.

Today,   Sarah, Charlotte, Lucas and Ellis arrived to catch a train to Birmingham. They are having a day at the Sea-Life Centre.

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