Archive for January, 2013

Warming up?

Posted in Uncategorized on January 28, 2013 by David Palmer

Overnight we had wind and rain with a rise in temperature  and the following morning the snow had mostly gone, to be replaced by a river in flood (again).

Charlotte has been having trouble with her tooth. She had insisted that the dentist check it out, but there was little evidence of anything being amiss until they checked the head scan photos  more closely that she had previously. There was a dark stain in the jaw indicating a long-standing infection. A minor operation to scrape out the nasty stuff ended up with something a little more substantial and a small  part of her jaw being cut away. It was painful, required stitches inside her mouth and a dose of painkillers . The side of her face swelled up rather unflatteringly for a few days before returning to its normal disposition, though tender to touch. Suraj had to have a couple of days off work to look after the boys and keep the ship sailing.

Sarah drove down to stay with us over the weekend. She has been applying for Camp America and needed to replace her old passport, plus she had to produce a video that would promote her application.  She arrived on Wednesday and immediately went to see her sister and help out with the boys. That Friday everyone came over for Curry Night and for once the boys were quite, they seemed quite happy to play with construction kits and jig-saws (long may it last). Charlotte was able to eat her curry without too much problem, but later she yelped when I kissed her cheek goodbye (it was the poorly cheek that she offered!)

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Earlier that day we had a visit from David. He and Genya had arrived in the UK on Tuesday and he had made a late decision on Thursday night to come down and see us. I picked him up from the train station in the morning and took him to see Nan. When we arrived Sarah was there waiting. For lunch we all (inc. Sue) went to The Waterfront restaurant at the Harborough Basin. Sarah and I took him for a walk around the Basin as our previous house had been knocked down to make way for a lot of the buildings and he was keen to see what had replaced it. We all returned to our house for the afternoon and watched family videos until it was time to catch his train back to Rotherham later that afternoon. He is flying back to Bulgaria the following Tuesday and Genya is staying for another month to sort out some work at the Unit, before joining him.

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On Saturday ,Sarah and I spent the day making her promotional video. It had to be published on YouTube so the pressure was on, particularly as some the others that were already there looked professional. We found old photo’s and videos, decided on a storyboard, wrote a few scripts and then set about creating this:  http://youtu.be/6IUC9o7ckps I hope it helps her application.

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On Sunday. Charlotte came over with the boys and they, Sue and Sarah went to Welland Park to see Cinderella.  It sounded very good, especially as Ellis sat quietly throughout the performance (praise indeed). We had rather enormous  chicken roast for our evening meal (supplied by Jamie) of which we gave half to the Rothwells to keep the wolves from the door.

On Monday Nan had a Doctors appointment and he noticed her finger and sent her to the Cottage Hospital to have it splinted. Sue went with her, but there was quite a queue so it was decided to go back in the afternoon. I returned with her and after an x-ray she had it put into a rigid splint with instructions to keep it on for 6 weeks (she didn’t keep the one I put on for very long, so we shall see). Sarah and I went to the post office to send off her passport application (extortionate price for a passport!). Sarah pleaded poverty so I paid for it and Nan gave her some money for her petrol back to Sheffield. Sue packed the car up with food for her return later that afternoon.

I popped around to Jamie’s place the other day to take a painting that he had bought in Bali of some surfers on a beach. He had decided it would like nice in his apartment, he had a friend there who was celebrating his 24th birthday, they were making plans for their evenings entertainment. I hope it went better than the other night when he took a girl out and she ended up backing her car into his and broke his wing mirror. I know because he fixed it in my garage. The work’s van is still giving problems and last week he got stranded in Birmingham when the clutch cable broke. It has since been repaired and they are looking to replace it. While it was in the garage being fixed, it seems he had 3 lazy days in the warehouse.

Sue like me had her NHS check-up. They took some blood, checked all the things that I was subjected too and is now waiting for the results and her doctor’s appointment. I have my visit to the Doctor next Monday to get the feedback. Even Jamie got a call up this week, but he forgot about the appointment and has to re-book. It seems they are working their way through every family in the Practice, it must cost a lot of time and money.

I have been engrossed most evenings working my way through the TV series ‘The Walking Dead’ on my tablet. I have completed season 1 and have now started season 2. I am at a loss to explain why, as Zombies dragging themselves around the countryside gobbling up the living is hard to defend as a sane evenings entertainment. But they are, I must be going mad or starting to empathise with rotting corpses!

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Looks like a student after a night out!

Snowflakes

Posted in Uncategorized on January 21, 2013 by David Palmer

Winter has appeared with a vengeance. The country as usual has ground to a halt and the media is full of scenic snow photos and videos of skidding and upturned cars.

Jamie has been getting good use out of his snowboard and the Rothwell boys have been busy gathering freezing fingers and toes! I have been having fun on my bike as I now can go off-road, though today I did discover that even my chunky tires wouldn’t grip down an embankment and my passage down it turned into an uncontrolled slalom and a snowy bum at the bottom.

Despite the conditions Sarah managed to drive over to a ‘Camp America’ exhibition in Manchester on Sunday. She travelled by Leeds to avoid the Penine snow and survived what appeared to be a very full and tiring day.

Nan hasn’t left her flat (very wise), buit today on a visit she showed me her finger which was bent at an odd angle. She did it at Josie’s when she fell over, but kept quite about it. It didn’t hurt(she said)  so I bound it up with half a cotton-bud to keep it straight and I will keep an eye on it. I don’t think the Doctor can do anything about it as I think the tendon has been stretched and needs time to shorten by itself. I warned her not to take it off. We shall see.

Our bird table is quite busy with the usual robin and home-grown pigeons, but we are also visited by a cock pheasant who looks very spectacular in his plumage. The freezing condition are forecast to last until next weekend.

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Sarah’s snowman in Sheffield

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Ellis’s snowman in Rothwell.

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Jamie the snowman in Harborough.

My snowman in Harborough (I called him Lucas).

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Welsh Visit

Posted in Uncategorized on January 18, 2013 by David Palmer

Last Tuesday Nan, Sue and I drove up to North Wales. On the Monday it snowed and there was around half an inch lying on the ground, with a promise from the weather man of more to come.

As the weather forecast for the week was not good, we set off with some trepidation, but as things turned out we needn’t have worried. We picked Nan up from her Flat just after 9am and after an uneventful journey we arrived at Aunt Josie’s just before midday. She had  lunch ready for us and after salmon, mashed potato and mushy peas we drove on to our hotel, the De Vere Village in Saint David’s. After checking in then travelled on to Upton to see Ray and Jan Bengree (Sue’s relatives). They were looking after one of their daughters children and later on Ray went and fetched another  older child from school. We left soon after as it was tea-time and we gauged that we would be delaying them from eating if we stayed any longer.  Back at the hotel we watched some TV until it was time for the evening meal which we took in the Hotel restaurant, afterwards we resisted the temptation to  go out and find dome entertainment and returned to our room for a fairly early night.

The following morning, after a rather large English breakfast we decided to visit Flint Castle. We had planned to visit Noel and Gay but they had rung on Monday night letting us know that Noel was going to be in South Wales on a job interview (we re-scheduled for Thursday morning). The day was bitterly cold and quite misty but we had an excellent time. The castle was surprisingly picturesque on a such a bleak day.  After exploring the  castle ruins we decided to take the coastal walk down to the old harbour. It’s funny how age seems to let appreciate the things in life that you once passed by without a second glance or thought. We found the waders (birds) and their unique call quite fascinating and stood and watched them for quite a while. Of course we read all the information boards along the way, something I never used to do and not too many years ago would have considered an extremely boring thing to do.

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After reaching the harbour, standing ogling the view,  reading the information board, ogling the view once again, we decided that we were having such a great time that we would walk on even further down the coast. Passing more waders and considering whether they were oyster catchers or Dippers, not coming to any satisfactory conclusion, we regretted that we had not brought the binoculars. By the time we got back to the castle a couple of hours had flown by. We found a cafe and to warm us up I had hot chocolate and Sue had soup.

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We then drove over to Brymbo, picked up Nan and Josie and took them to Hope Cemetery to see the new headstone on their mother’s grave. We laid some flowers before travelling on to see Doreen. She has been quite ill recently and didn’t look well at all. We stayed for about half an hour before driving back to Brymbo to drop of Nan and Josie and returning to the hotel. That night we went out for a carvery to a nearby pub. On our return we watched some TV and again had a fairly early night.

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After yet another very large breakfast we checked out and drove to Mold to see Noel and Gay. Light snow began to fall. They live halfway up a mountain (Moel Ffamua) along a long, narrow and rough lane. We spent around three hours their catching up on family news etc. As we left, the snow began to fall a little heavier and it made the route back to Brymbo over the mountains quite spectacular and glad that I was doing it then and not a in a few hours time

When we arrived at Josie’s, we discovered that the previous night they had attempted to go to a local concert but Nan had fallen over on the pavement outside and made a mess of her eye and hand so they didn’t go. She didn’t look too bad, but was quite sheepish about the whole affair.  The snow started to come down quite heavily so we left for our journey back to Harborough. Despite the heavy traffic and the falling snow we were home by 7pm. It was 3 degrees in the house (should have left the heating on).

BREAKING NEWS:  The heavy snow that has been forecast arrived.  I completed my morning bike ride (for the first time in many months, all off-road across very hard and frozen fields) the snow really started to come down.  I read on Sarah’s face book that she had been accepted to Hallam for next year and that the fees rise to £9000. At lunchtime we got a phone call from Jamie. He was on a delivery run to Birmingham and the van had broken down, he was stuck in a snowdrift and the motorways were closed.A later phone call informed us that the company had got to him in 4X4 and they were transporting the meat from the van to where it was supposed to be going but when they got there the place was shut, they were not impresseed . The  next phone call declared that the 4X4 was now like the rest of the Midlands stuck! They were making plans to stay the night. However they managed to get the van going and ghot as far as Leicesetr before they got stuck in traffic again. After several moere hours they managed to make it back to Harborough late in the evening.

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All gone.

Posted in Uncategorized on January 14, 2013 by David Palmer

The title says it all. Now that Sarah has returned to Uni. Sue and I are on our own.

One afternoon Charlotte, Sarah, Ellis and I went Geo-caching between Rothwell and Desborough. Sarah has been meeting up with Charlotte quite regularly and finding caches all over Harborough and this time they invited me to come along. I had been out in the wilds of Leicestershire on my bike and Sarah had got fed up on waiting for me so she drove over to Rothwell herself and waited for me to get back home and then I drove over to meet them. The first cache was at the end of a lovely walk through some woods. It took some finding,and much to Sarah’s annoyance, Charlotte swooped on it. The next cache involved a short drive and then a long walk accompanied for part of it by some very inquisitive, hungry and pushy horses. We failed to find the 3rd and final cache as it had been deposited on the bank of a stream that had clearly been in flood during the past few weeks and we guessed that it was now way down stream and gone.

A few days later Sarah and I went Geo-caching again up to the Canal basin. It was well hidden, but after solving the clues I managed to find it ( I was really chuffed). Water had got inside and the note-book was rather wet so I took the cache home, dried it out and then took it back. That afternoon I loaded my GPS with all the caches in the local area and resolved to find them all.

On Sunday Sue, Charlotte, Jamie , Sarah and I attended the christening of Ethan Johnson (Jim & Brigitte’s grandson). The church was off Knighton Road in Leicester and the priest was marvelous. It was a Catholic service and he explained each of the parts of the service and had a very entertaining manner which kept us all non-Catholics interested. There was a lovely buffet at the Cricketers in Grace Road. The room it was held in had a magnificent view over the cricket pitch of Leicestershire County Cricket ground.

Photo: Lovely christening xxx

I have moved the Wifi router from my study into the lounge. BT wanted £205 to do it! I bought a 25m extension cable off ebay for £2.39 and a 20mm X 400mm masonry bit from Screwfix for £6.10, got Nigel to bring over his heavy-duty drill and drilled holes in the relevant walls and connected it all up the new position. Job done, works perfectly, up yours BT!!!! However, just before Christmas I tested the best position for the router by moving it to various locations around the house, one of those spots was upstairs and it involved disconnecting the house alarm system (I needed the socket it was connected to). Though I put the alarm circuit plug back in the socket I failed to switch it on (I do that sort of thing nowadays). No problem until well after Christmas when the failing internal battery triggered an alarm at 6am. Luckily Sue and I didn’t hear it as only the external alarm was triggered. It woke Sarah up who then woke us (better than a klaxon going off out side you bedroom!), so I duly disconnected the sirens (internal & external). On the way back to sleep I noticed that most of our neighbours had their bedroom light on (must be getting up early to go to work, I hoped).

Photo: Cutie pied my siblings cars up :-) think I might get a telling off from my brotherPhoto: Cutie pied my siblings cars up :-) think I might get a telling off from my brother

As you can see, Sarah has personalised her Ka with eyelashes. She also did Jamie’s (I don’t think he knew).

Sarah returned to Sheffield on Monday afternoon after first visiting Charlotte to say goodbye. As soon as she arrived at her digs, we got a phone call to inform us that she had left a folder in her bedroom and could we post it to her (Sue did it this morning). That afternoon Sue and I went to Jamie’s for tea. He had made a very nice lasagna and so far there have been no ill effects. We asked if it could be a regular thing each Monday, but he just smiled sweetly. Sue got a steam carpet cleaner for Christmas and this afternoon I went over to Jamie’s and cleaned a stain under a radiator in his flat. It worked very well and removed it in no time at all.

It has taken until the 9th of January for me to get around to connecting the house alarm system up again. The SIM card in the main console had expired, so I had the palaver of contacting O2 to reactivate it which they gladly did, but the credit on it had mysteriously disappeared (I should have guessed). It now all works as it should do, until I get around to disconnecting it again!

The NHS sent me a letter a couple of weeks ago, the gist of it went like this: Now that you are really, really old we would like to check up on how healthy you are so that we can advise the government on when they can stop paying your pension (was that a bit too cynical?). I attended the ‘check-up’  on Friday, disappointingly for Mr Cameron, blood pressure was spot on, body mass index was spot on, heart rate was slower than normal (and in line with a gold medal decathlete, but the nurse said it only indicated that I was quite fit, but as she was holding my hand at the time and I knew what she meant!). I also  gave a syringe full of blood and will get the results from that in a couple of weeks time.

Sarah is applying for Camp America and sent me her Personal Statement to have a look at. I hope she is successful as I am sure that she will have a brilliant time. Fingers crossed.

On Sunday Nan treated Sue, Jamie and I to Sunday lunch at The Bell. It has changed ownership several times over the last few years and is presently and up-market Indian restaurant. The two course lunch was excellent, and like Jamie I rather pigged out and probably unlike Jamie I couldn’t eat anything  else for the rest of the day.

This morning we woke up to the first snow of the year. It made my morning bike ride more interesting. I stopped to photograph a herd of gypsy ponies in a field , but it was so cold the camera refused to work.

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Tomorrow Sue and I are taking Nan to Wales to visit her sister and see the gravestone of her mother that she has paid to have erected, we are also taking the opportunity to visit some of Sue’s relatives and some friends of mine. More snow is forecast and we have booked a hotel so we shall attempt to get there!