A month is a long time

A whole month has gone by without putting finger to keyboard and up dating the family blog. The reason being that I have given myself a project. I have decided to make a video of the individual family members (for posterity) to date. To start with I chose Jamie, principally because I had to start somewhere and as Jamie tries to avoid being photographed, I thought it would be the quickest and easiest to complete. I was wrong. There are a lot of photos of Jamie, it’s just that there are not a lot of ‘nice’ photos of Jamie, as if he spots a camera, he usually turns away. It has been a rare when on  occasion when he has stood and smiled for the camera. However, it got done and I think it is pretty good, though he has been consistent and so far has avoided watching it in its entirety  (I have given him his own copy, which he managed to forget to take for over a week). I have now moved onto Nan. I completed her video last night. There were less photos to scan, but they took longer to work on in order to bring them back to a reasonable condition to use. Hopefully she will come down for Mothering Sunday and I we will have a showing.

Another reason why it has taken so long to write this blog, is that I have been regularly travelling up to Thurcroft, sorting out Nan’s finances. As the weather  in the UK has been cold, I have to admit that staying with Nan has been quite pleasant as her heating is often on and the house is lovely and warm. Back home, if it gets chilly, we put a jumper on. When it gets cold, we make a fire and when it gets freezing or guests arrive we put the central heating on. Thermal underwear and Sarah at Uni’  has reduced our heating costs by over a half. To make things less confusing, Nan’s bank accounts have all been brought together into the Yorkshire Bank.  All her regular  outgoing bills have gone onto Direct Debit and any policies etc. that she doesn’t need have been cancelled (and most have returned monies). The other week, whilst at the bank in Rotherham I got a parking fine! Not getting annoyed, I made a very nice phone call and then wrote a very nice letter and wonders of wonders, it got rescinded (who says being nice doesn’t pay). I am at present looking to see if Nan could move to Harborough. I am not sure that she wants to, but I intend to give her the opportunity if she wishes to take it.

Being at Nan’s hasn’t been all paperwork and telephone calls. We spent one very pleasant day in Bridlington. Though it was very chilly and the fish and chips were a bit of a disappointment, the sky was blue and the memories of past holidays were strong ( a lot of reminiscing took place). We visited Flamborough Lighthouse, Sewerby and Hornsea. I was quite taken with Hornsea, a very small and quiet resort that I think would deserve a weekend stay sometime. We also visited Aunt Edna, who is now in a home in Sheffield. She is 88 years old and is having a problem with her memory.  Though she instantly recognised who I was, she got confused with Nan. Often she would forget what she had said a few minutes earlier and it would get repeated. I think she is in the best place for her. She doesn’t get visitors, so the following week after taking Nan and Sarah out for  lunch at the Lady Bower Dam in the peak District we called in to see her on the way back. Again she recognised me and also knew Sarah was my daughter, but Nan became my wife. We stayed for about an hour and left the take Sarah back to her digs.

I played a game of rugby. Yes, it was a silly thing to do. Having agreed quite a long time ago to put in a 5 minute cameo performance (of what was a guaranteed brilliant performance), I ended up playing a full game. The match was a celebration of Jeremy Brown’s 50th birthday, many of his friends who were now ex-players turned up, and also quite depressingly quite a few young current players. As an exercise in keeping my body in one piece I was successful. As a reassurance that you never lose the old skills, it was a failure. I seemed to have lost the ability to pass a ball, kick a ball, tackle a player or run. More by luck than judgement I did manage to avoid being damaged (other than pride), and got a bit of mud on my kit to prove I had played. However, the bath was brilliant. Sitting there with your chums, singing and drinking champagne and acting the prat for well over an hour was and is one of the best things you can do in life (and I miss it). As the First team captain was also playing in the game, back in the changing room I asked if it would seem too weird if I joined the lads in the bath after the games on Saturdays and I assured him I wouldn’t want to play in the matches. Disappointingly the consensus of opinion in the changing room was that it would be seem too weird. So I won’t.

The following evening Sue and I attended Frank’s wedding reception. I had been on his stag weekend to Manchester. We assumed that there was going to be a buffet, but there wasn’t and as we hadn’t eaten that evening we left at 11pm with Jim and Brigitte and had a curry in town.

Our central heating broke. As it doesn’t get much use I assume it went to sleep and forgot to wake up. Eon came the  following day (Sunday) and fixed it. The weather has since turned warm.

Sue and I had a very pleasant walk with the Council around Glooston. Afterwards, we stopped at the The Barn for lunch and a chat with the other walkers. The food was nice, though a little expensive for discerning pensioners. We followed part of the old Roman road and also went past Harley’s house. Earlier on her mother had passed us on one of her horses, that she was exercising on what a beautifully sunny morning. We are going on another walk today (Tuesday) to Kibworth and also another one on Saturday.

It was my birthday on the 4th of March. As I try not to celebrate yet another year of slow degeneration suggested to Sue that we go away for a day 0r two. It was decided to visit Matthew (Canadian cousin) in Woking and I booked a DeVere hotel only just 4 minutes away from him. The hotel as usual was superb, with the evening meal and breakfast being excellent. We went to the cinema in the evening and watched Lady in Black. Finding the cinema was not an easy task. Parking the car was a doddle, I found a place straight away that on the Satnav was only 100 m away. Woking town centre on a Saturday night is dead! After being given instructions to find it by a passer-by and we got lost. An Eastern European family then gave us instructions and we were still lost. We went into Macdonald’s and they confused us even more. When we found the entrance, it was shut but a nice man came to the door and told us to got to the other side of the building and come in through the shopping mall. The whole town center was being given a bit of modernisation and after finding our way through a maze, we got there. The film had just started and wasn’t too bad. We spent a couple of hours with Matthew and his partner Anne (also Canadian). Woking is quite an affluent place to live, it is in the stock-broker belt  and even the hovels are palatial.

We attempted to go to Wisely Gardens, and having very nearly got there we were stopped by a young girl that had crashed her car on a narrow hump back bridge over the river. Though the damage wasn’t sever and it could have been driven off the bridge, the hazard lights were on and the young girl was nowhere to be seen. There was no other feasible route without making an extremely long backtrack and detour.  We had a walk along the river for about half an hour and when we came back, she was by her car but had no intention of moving it so that the now very long queue of motorists could go. As we left the AA turned up.

On the way home it was raining (cats and dogs). We stopped at the Royal Airforce Memorial Gardens in Runnymede. Sue wanted to see Gordon Lawrence’s  (her mother’s brother) name on the wall, he had been a navigator in Bomber Command and been shot down in Prussia. We found it easily as Matthew visits it  each year on the anniversary of  Gordon’s death and he gave us good instructions as to where it was to be found. Afterwards we drove on to Windsor Castle. The rain was very heavy and we  stayed for less than an hour without visiting inside the castle. as we were cold and wet and it was rammed with tourists. We drove home with the heater on.

Jamie has a new car, it is a 2 litre BMW. He bought it in London with Suraj. It looks ok, but at present the water pump and the power steering is broken and needs replacing. It is due to go into the garage for repairs on Thursday. I am making no comment. He has 10 days off work as he has to take them before April or loses them. They are paid. Unfortunately he doesn’t have a car to go very far until it is fixed.

The Rothwells are in Cape Verde. They flew out last Friday from East Midlands Airport. It is Ellis’s first flight and it is 6 hours long! The weather is quite warm and it should be a good break for them all. I have heard that they arrived safely, Ellis slept most of the way and the sky is blue and the temperature warm. I am looking forward to them coming back and finding out what the place is like. It is somewhere I have always wanted to go.

Sue and I have booked to go to Borneo at the end of April. Sue has always wanted to see the Orangutans in the wild, and now she shall. We fly to Kuala Lumpar and then on to Borneo. On the way back we have 3 days in KL to do a bit of shopping and sight-seeing.

This week we went to see a film at the Film Club called ‘We need to keep and eye on Kevin’. A strange but compelling film told in flash backs that chartered the life of son that committed a High School massacre using a bow and arrow. Yes I know it sounds improbable, but it was set in the USA and could be based on fact (not sure). We enjoyed it.

Last week I drove over to Bourne. An old friend (John Lee), had phoned to ask if I would come over to help him put up his green house. We spent all day putting in the glass as he had erected the frame himself. I thought the frame would have been the tricky part but fitting the glass proved even more of a problem. By the time it had got dark we had still a bit to do, but had to stop as there was no out side lighting and  he was off to watch Peterborough v Milwall later that night. He would have to finish it off himself the following week as I had not time to come back and help.

Sarah has been quite busy, having received a string of of merits for all her assignments since Christmas she was pleased to get a distinction for her last one. Plus, she was awarded something called a ‘Spark Award’ for being the top student in her year (made us very proud) and this week she took part in the course ‘open day’ for next years prospective  students and was quizzed by the new entrants (you can see why she was chosen). This week after returning late from a Salsa dance session she had a surprise visit from Jamie and some of his mates who were unexpectantly waiting for her outside her digs. They stayed for around an hour then went to Macdonald’s before driving back to Harborough. I am travelling up to Yorkshire to day and Nan and I will be taking her out to lunch.

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