On the road again.

During the week Sarah went on the train back to Sheffield. As social secretary of the Scuba Diving Club she had organised an end of year dinner/party/booze-up. She also had a final course meeting and had to finish off packing up her things at the Pinnacles.

On Friday we had the Rothwells around for curry. The weather had turned cold and wet and a walk to the pub in Lubenham that I thought we might do afterwards ,didn’t happen.

On the Saturday I got up early and I drove up to Sheffield to pick Sarah up. After loading up the car I sat in the lounge and pretended to watch Time-team on the TV while she  cleaned around and made things look respectable. I would have helped clean-up but watching Sarah tidy up, was something quite novel, a thing I had never seen before. With practice I feel she could (with a bit of application) get very good at it. After one last check of her room, she handed in the keys at the office and we set-off  south. Unfortunately there was a bad accident on the M1 with long delays, so I detoured and added another hour to the journey!

That evening Sue took Sarah to stay with Charlotte over the next few days. She was helping Charlotte out with ‘Sure Start’,  she was doing face painting to raise money for equipment etc. It looks by the evidence on Facebook that they had practiced on each other before they did it for real. (quite comical).

Photo: Facepainting turned into a knicker wetting experience

Sue and I had decided that as I was going up to pick up my mother from the airport, we would both go up and visit Uncle Stanley and book into a hotel for the night. We chose the Last Drop Inn Village Hotel (Mercure Hotel) just outside Bolton on the edge of the Pennines.  After making a fairly early start on Monday we arrived at Stanley’s around midday. Despite trying to take him out for lunch , he stubbornly refused. We had a couple of coffees, had a nice chat, but it was evident that his eye-sight is quite bad  now and you can see that it he needs help in keeping things tidy etc. I think we shall have to tactfully suggest that it is about time he moved into accommodation where he can receive support. I am not sure how he will take any advice as he loves his  independence and his garden. We stayed a couple of hours, said our goodbyes and drove to the hotel about half an hour away.

After checking in, instead of doing our usual explore of the facilities we drove to a garden center we had passed earlier and had a light snack in their cafe.  As we hadn’t taken Stanley for lunch we were rather hungry. Afterwards we drove up onto the moors and had a lovely walk around Entwhistle Reservoir before stopping for a drink at a pub that had stunning views over the reservoir and moor. As we were sat on the balcony admiring  some little piglets that were rooting in a field next door, the landlady came  and pointed out that the newspaper that Sue had picked up off the bar, belonged to one of her regulars and he wanted it back. I offered to fight him for it but as  Sue had finished reading it, he got it back without any fuss.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped off at Turton Tower and had a quick look around, as it was Jubilee weekend, that afternoon they had, had a rock concert, but we arrived as they finished.

On our return to the hotel we had an explore. The hotel was built from old farm buildings, and very much had a village feel to it (as the name suggests). Among the cottages and rooms were , little shops and a pub. We discovered that at 10.15pm they were going to light the beacon that was in the hotel grounds. So, after an excellent evening meal in the hotel restaurant we stood outside  (in the chill) with other guests and quite a lot of locals and witnessed the lighting, in celebration of sixty years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. Then we were treated to a short fireworks display.

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We had a night-cap in the bar then retired to our room. The following morning after breakfast we had quite a lot of time to waste so we went for quite a long walk along a path that took us through a quarry, over the moors and around Turton Golf Club. Though it threatened to rain, it didn’t. We checked out of the hotel at 11.30pm. As we were not picking Nan up until 2.30pm we stopped in a suburb of Manchester to have a shandy and waste time. Mistake, the area was depressed and the pub was up for sale. The landlord had been knee-capped and was hobbling about. The local drug pusher came in and vended some of his wares to the landlord, who promptly disappeared, leaving the opportunist drinkers in the other bar to help themselves to beer.  We left soon afterwards.

Nan’s flight was an hour late . We met Andrew in the Arrivals Hall (Josie’s son), and chatted while we waited. When they eventually came through, we said our goodbyes and set off our separate ways. We stopped in Whiston for something to eat before getting to Thurcroft. It was an early night for Sue and Nan, but I watched Scotland beat Australia at rugby, in a hurricane on SKY, before venturing upstairs. Well done the Scots.

The following morning was Wednesday, which meant Nan had her hair done. I took her up the village and then weeded around the garden, until she rang to say she wanted picking up. We had lunch at the Royal Elephant in Dinnington, before Sue and I set off for Harborough. Sarah came back with Charlotte and the kids during the afternoon. Suraj has hurt his back on a bouncy castle and was left sleeping at home. When I rang him this morning to play golf, his back is still bad and preventing him from coming out to play. It has rained heavily most of the day but I did manage to clean the pool (in water-proofs), but first fixing the pump connection that was leaking and preventing the head from sucking up the debris.

Last week Harborough Council rang to say that there was an apartment in Huntingdon Gardens available for Nan to look at. Jamie, Sue and I went and had a look. It was a nice place and we thought would suit Nan. On her return from Spain I showed her some photographs I had taken of the place and she was keen to have a look herself. She will be coming down on Tuesday to have a look.

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