Mama Mia!

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!!!

CLICK ON THE PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

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

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