Archive for Aug, 2012

Mama Mia!

Posted in Uncategorized on Aug 25, 2012 by David Palmer

As I write this it is raining outside. I have just returned from my daily bike ride (having got soaked) and had a shower (which I suppose doesn’t make much sense). Having returned from Italy on Wednesday, I have been busy mowing the lawns and the paths at both allotments, picking the vegetables (Sue is at this moment preparing them for the freezer), cleaned the pool, pruned the vines, dug up the potatoes.

For the last week Sue has been looking after the boys. Sarah and Charlotte took the Eurostar to Paris last Monday and are there for a week. Sue has been picking up the boys from Rothwell while Suraj goes to work and she looked after them until Suraj picked them up in the evening. During the week she took them to: East Carlton Park, Corby Boating Lake, Sacrewell Farm Park (Peterborough), Welland Park, Foxton Locks, Knighton Park. Yesterday Sue and I went on a bike ride with the boys along the Brampton Valley Cycle Track to a picnic spot near Arthingworth.n After the picnic we stopped at Waterloo Lakes for an ice cream.

Wednesday was a busy day for birthday girl Sue. She started it by picking up the boys from Rothwell, then opening cards and presents with Lucas and Ellis (a bit of a fight to make sure that the contents stayed integral). The morning was spent feeding ducks at Foxton Locks and the afternoon saw a picnic in Knighton Park. After the boys were picked up by Suraj later that day, Sue an I had a very nice Thai meal to celebrate.  Not the usual quiet relaxing day of past years,but enjoyable (she says).

Italy: Roger and I jetted off on our annual visit to see Joan and Phil in Sunday on the 14th Aug.  We drove down to Stansted in the rain with our RyanAir boarding passes and each carrying less than 10kg of baggage.

We were met by Joan and Phil at Ancona Airport and they drove us to their place in Marche, Santa Vittoria in Matenano, it took around 1.5 hours under blue skies with a lack of the familiar clouds we have been used to back in the UK.  Much of the scenery displayed evidence of fierce heat as we passed by brown fields and withered crops. It was a taste of things to come.

It was nice to see Joan and Phil again, they both looked relaxed and annoyingly a bit younger than I last remembered. Just goes to show you what living in a bankrupt country on a British pension can do for you. We met up with our old friend Wags (the dog) who instantly remembered us as we passed by his house in the valley and accompanied on our walk back to the White House. He was picked up later in the evening by his owner Luke.

The days were extremely hot and got hotter as the days passed. When I woke in the morning, the closed wooden shutters in my room were so hot that you couldn’t put your hands on them for long. It confirmed that the sun was up and not to open the shutters quickly as the sunlight was blinding.

We did manage to get out and about: we visited a couple of the local hilltop towns for shopping (I bought some butter bean seed s that I couldn’t get this year back in the UK). On one day we had a long drive to the mountains to visit a very pretty valley, though Roger’s ability to be car sick on the shortest of journeys made it a bit of an ordeal for him. On another day we visited a Monastery and a Garden Centre (which I would have bought some seeds from, had they not been stuck in the 50’s with their customer service.

During the late afternoons Roger and I took to walking up into the town and taking arty photo’s of the buildings etc. We would finish the trip off with a  much-needed cooling beer in one of the bars their, before returning for one of Joan’s exquisite meals. Whoever said that vegetarian meals were good for you should take account of my 11st 6lbs pre-Italy body weight and a 12st 4 lbs post-Italy!!!!

We flew back on the 22nd of Aug.  Joan and Phil dropped us off at the airport and the flight took off on time. We arrived back at Stansted to a rainstorm and a flat car battery. With a short push from Roger the engine started and it was showers all the way home brrrrr!!!


Paris: As I mentioned earlier, Sarah and Charlotte are in Paris.

A week is not a summer!

Posted in Uncategorized on Aug 5, 2012 by David Palmer

The promised heat wave arrived, lasted a week and left. We are again back to rain showers (frequent) and occasional thunderstorms. The difference is that it doesn’t rain all day and the temperature is not so cold.

Ellis is now two years old (31st July).

He celebrated by chilling out, steaming up and cooling off.

He had a BBQ at home followed by a ride on a steam train at Lamport and then another BBQ and a dip in the pool in Harborough. I think I didn’t do any of that when I was two, how times have changed. Steam trains were certainly more prevalent than today, but the closest thing we ever came to a BBQ was when the Sunday joint got burnt and a  dip in the pool meant a paddle in the stream, down the road.

Sue and I had our 36th wedding anniversary. We celebrated by having a very nice meal at the Brownsover Hall Hotel near Rugby. We had a walk around hotel grounds before the meal and had a drink in the bar after the meal. We have decided to return and have a picnic in the park next to the hotel at some future date.

Restaurant at Brownsover Hall Hotel in Rugby

Last Saturday we went on a walk with the Council. The departure point was Lamport Steam Railway Station. The route took us through some very pretty villages before returning back to the pub next to the station and a nice lunch.

We also went to the Harborough Cinema to watch ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.’ A very funny story about ‘senior cits’ retiring to a rundown hotel in India. I highly recommend it for an entertaining evening.

The last time we had a family meal that wasn’t a BBQ, was our Mexican Evening. This time we has an Italian evening. Charlotte made Fusilli with Spinach and Asiago Cheese, Sarah made a selection of pizzas and I made Italian pork meatballs with parmesan, in a tomato and Basil sauce. Nan came to eat and ate the most I have seen her eat in a long while, so it must have been good!

With the weather being so hot, the pool was used every day by Sarah, Charlotte and the boys. A couple of days Charlotte invited a friend and her children over as well and Sarah also had a friend come down form Sheffield for the day. It is nice to see the pool being used , hopefully the sun will return again before the winter and it will get some more use. As I write this the sky is black and the lightning is flashing cross the sky.

The allotments and garden are now in full swing and most of the vegetables are being picked and consumed. Apart from the potatoes it appears to be a bumper year. The vines are filling out nicely. Yesterday, I pruned and weeded around them again for the third time this year.

Nan is now registered with the local Doctors and had to have a blood test this week (she has diabetes). I took her down to the surgery (in the rain) and then to the pharmacist to pick up her repeat prescription. I ordered her a jar of sugar-free sweets off the internet and they arrived the other day, they look and taste like the real thing, but I am sure they will do her a lot more good than the sweets that she likes ton eat in the evening watching TV.

The Golden tickets that I won in a competition eventually made their way to Sarah, Lee, Jamie and a friend of Jamie’s. Sarah and Lee went on the train to London. Jamie and his friend drove to St. Alban’s and then caught the train in. Despite frequent showers they had an excellent time, though Jamie was ill on the day and returned late in the afternoon. Sarah went to Earl’s Court the following week to see the Boxing with Lee. She went to Lee’s the night before and then drove down with his father and a cousin. She returned home the day afterwards on the train from Nottingham. We all received texts from her while she was watching the bouts as she was sat near the ring, but unfortunately the lights in the hall were so dark that at you couldn’t really see any one in the audience on the TV (shame, we all are supposed to have 15 minutes of fame!) Jamie has gone to Santa Pod this weekend with his mates (hope he doesn’t get too wet).

I rang Roger during the week and we arranged to visit Joan and Phil in Italy. We fly out on the 14th and return on the 22nd. I shall hopefully be picking up a few tips on what to do with my vines as they seem to be producing quite a lot of grapes this year.

Yesterday Sue, Charlotte, Sarah and the boys went to Kelmarsh Hall’s  ‘Big Day Out’. Despite the rain showers they had great fun having a go on all the attractions and sheltering in the car during the downpours.

I have played a couple of games against Suraj recently. We should play more to improve our strokes. It can be such a frustrating game at times. You can play a good hole and then completely mess it up on the next, while doing exactly the same as you did previously (or so you think). More practice is the key.