Drought?

Annoyingly I wrote this blog yesterday, it took nearly 2 hours and as I was thinking about finishing  ………  it disappeared!!!!!  If you never see anything but the last blog written (Phew!), then I have given up and will write no more until WordPress convince me that it won’t happen again.  So, here we go again.

When the faceless bureaucrats at the water boards decree that there is a water shortage and impose a hose pipe ban, you just know that the summer is going to be rubbish. They announced it two weeks ago and and to the very day, it has rained. In fact it is raining right now. When the water was owned by the British we had good summers, now that they are foreign owned, they send their rain clouds to us and keep the blue stuff for themselves. I suggest that the government buy back our water and sell it to Maldives, I like their weather and apart from the odd tsunami it only rains at night and that’s good for the garden, good for the beach and good for my disposition.

The allotments are doing fine, the onions, parsnips, potatoes and broad beans I have planted have all made an appearance and quite welcome sky water. The seeds planted in the greenhouse have also popped up and have been potted on and are doing fine on the pool water (green). I usually throw away my surplus tomato plants, but this year I have potted them on as well and intend to give them to Charlotte to sell at a car-boot sale. It could be the start of  lucrative financial venture, I could be the new Tesco?

Quite a while ago I volunteered to referee at the Club’s inaugural 10’s competition, well Easter week end I turned up and luckily there were enough volunteers so I ran the touch for a few games. The following day my legs complained bitterly about it, cycling each day does not exercise the same muscles as you use for running, I shall not be volunteering again (I think).  As mentioned, I still cycle most mornings. I love to get out into countryside and see whats about, but I have started to notice something that is quite worrying.  I prefer to cycle off road on paths and bridleways and collect mud for Sue, for the the first 2 years of retirement I would only come across the odd woman exercising her dog or if it was a weekend, couples out for a ramble. This year I have started to see quite a lot of old blokes on bikes (sticking to the lanes) we nod but don’t speak, my bike is obviously far too muddy to be ridden by a cultured person. However, since March I have started to notice tyre tracks in the mud on the routes that I use!!!! What is going on? As yet I haven’t come across any of these ghost riders. Where is this going to end, queues at stiles, ruts in fords, passing points on canal paths? I have strung a few lengths of piano wire between a few trees to resolve the problem, (I just have to remember which trees now). Over the last  week I have got off my bike twice  and just marveled at the scenery around me. Early in the morning when most people are on the roads rushing to get to work and the sky is blue with puffy white clouds and the lone horse I try to engage in conversation in remote field near Gumley is still not committing himself to any political view, I would rather be doing nothing else.

Easter came, chocolate got eaten and the family arrived for Sunday lunch. The Rothwell’s left early in the evening when Ellis, who was giving Charlotte a cuddle, threw up all over her lap. The green chocolaty innards kept coming and coming and as Charlotte was sat on our nice new sofa , she couldn’t avoid the waves of vomit and had to catch it all. I must admit to a smile. Revenge at last, for the pile of sick that Charlotte deposited on my head at the age of 3yrs while she was on my shoulders and dancing at a friends house party! We had to leave early as well.

One Friday night I was at the Rugby Club attending a Comedy Evening. It was very entertaining. Two nights later, Sue and I were in Leicester also attending a Comedy Evening. Sarah had bought me a voucher for my birthday and I exchanged it for the Comedy night. When I booked us in, they also gave me two more free seats, so we invited Jim and Bridget to come along. We had an excellent meal at an Indian restaurant below the venue before the performance. There were 16 acts and we could vote them on or off as they cracked their gags. Great fun.

In contrast, the following day I was due to travel up to Thurcroft to take Nan to the eye  clinic for a checkup, but that got changed as Janet’s funeral took precedence. Originally, Sue and I were going but it coincided with Sarah returning to Uni. and then Charlotte expressed a wish to go with Ellis. So Sue stayed behind as there was no room with Nan  being picked up. We had an early start as we also had a request from the care home that aunt Edna was staying in, to visit as she had been ill. After Charlotte had dropped her car off at Mick Edwards, he was going to fix the brakes, we set off at 7.30am. The journey up was quiet. We had a break at Nan’s while I sorted out her mail and paid a bill on the phone, then took Sarah to her digs to drop off her stuff before travelling on to Edna’s. Edna was having her hair done when we arrived. She was quite taken with Ellis, but had problems working out which was Sarah and which was Charlotte, we stayed for just over an hour and then left to get some lunch. We tried the Royal Oak in Ulley, it used to be a favourite of ours but when it changed hands the food went downhill we haven’t been for a few years. The food was better but the chips were a bit floppy. As soon as we arrived back at Nan’s, David arrived. He seemed lost and upset , he stayed for half an hour then went up to Janet’s.

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Even though the church was only 300m away, as we were also going to the crematorium in Rotherham I took the car. I had to drop Nan and the family off at the bottomof the road as there were so many cars  arriving. The whole village seemed to be walking to the church. I had to park the car outside aunt Hilda’s old house and walk to the church. The church is quite large and was absolutely packed, if we hadn’t been classed as relatives we would not have got seats. They were standing in the aisles and quiet a lot of people couldn’t even get into the church. The service was short but the priest had a wicked sense of humour and made everyone chuckle. The service at the crematorium was also brief and again packed, with people standing outside. The funeral tea was a typical Tyke affair, held at the local village club and involved buffet and beer. We even had a short game of bingo to raise money for charity. we stayed just over an hour and then I took Nan back home, dropped Sarah off at her digs and then hit the motorway back to Harborough. Janet was obviously a well liked village character, big of hearted and generous of her time. She had cycled to Skegness for charity on a few occasions and her wish was for her ashes to be scattered in the sea there. Good on yer lass.

The following day saw Sue and I taking Jamie and Harley to Stansted airport to catch their RyanAir flight to Kos. After dropping them off at the departure lounge we drove to Little Yelding some 21 miles away. I had booked a hotel for the night at the 15c White Hart Inn. What a lovely time we had there. After checking in  (flatteringly we were given the Bridal Suite, with four-poster bed) we had a walk around the extensive grounds and then drove over to Hedingham Castle and looked around the Norman keep and gardens, before returning for our evening meal. The meal was superb fine dining, it consisted of 6 courses,but unfortunately we only got as far as 5 before I was stuffed! We left at 8.30pm and drove into Haverhill to watch a film at the local cinema. It was called ‘The cabin in the woods’, what a load of nonsense. We don’t recommend seeing it. We had a drink in the Hotel bar before as newly wed always do, retired to bed with smiles on our faces. The following morning we had a lovely breakfast and the plan was to visit places on the way back, but it rained most of the way so we stopped at Charlotte’s for a cup of coffee before carrying on home.

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Since Easter I have been playing golf with Jamie and also managed a couple of games with Suraj. He seems to have taken to the game, one Saturday he even went for some lessons with the professional (I haven’t played him since). I expect that he will soon be buying a new set of clubs.

I have a new app on my phone. It allows you to play scrabble against other people. We had the family around one weekend and they all had their heads buried in their mobile phones, not speaking to each other. When I asked what they were doing they said that they were playing scrabble against each other. Sue said let’s get the scrabble board out and all play. Oh no they said this is better. I now play the game and I too think it’s better, Sue who doesn’t have a phone that connects to the net and she doesn’t. The only problem is that I have yet to beat Sarah as she cheats. She must have a program that generates scrabble words or she has found a way of selecting the letters that she wants.

Today started well, my bike ride was rain free but puddly. The blog so far hadn’t magically disappeared. Then I had some  interruptions. Phone calls and a visit. The first  was when Roger turned up. Usually when he comes he wants me to do something for him, but this time was different. He has skin cancer. He was on his way to the dentist and popped in to have a chat about it. Understandably worried, he wanted to talk. He stayed for coffee and tea-cakes and then had to leave for his appointment. I returned to writing this blog and managed 15 minutes before the phone rang. It was John, he wanted to talk, unfortunately his biopsy had returned indicating that his cancer had spread and that the prognosis wasn’t looking good. We talked for a while. I returned to writing this blog and the phone went almost immediately again, it was Gary from the rugby club. He wanted to talk about how the beer prices had gone up. I listened politely, but the previous conversations did rather put things into context, and the price of beer is not really that important. I listened to a radio chat show last night and on it was a gentleman that had been diagnosed as only today as having a few weeks left to live. He sounded so positive and alive that you couldn’t help but think. His message was to live every day as if it may be your last. Heard that before, and it makes you think. But today I think the trick is not to be sidelined by issues that are of no consequence. I think Janet got it right, she more than filled a church with enough  people who felt the need to say thank you, to a person they thought worth taking some time out of their day.

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